Swimming against the stream of bag bans around the country, a new Arizona law prohibits local bans, taxes or fees on plastic bags and other containers.
Gov. Douglas Ducey (R) signed into law April 13 a measure that bars any Arizona company from regulating the “sale, use or disposition of auxiliary containers,” which includes single-use plastic bags as well as foam containers, boxes, cans and bottles. The new law also would prohibit local governments from requiring businesses to report how much energy they use, and from imposing mandatory recycling regulations.
Several major statewide business groups supported the measure, written by state Rep. Warren Petersen (R-Gilbert), including the Arizona Retailers Association and Arizona Food Marketing Alliance. They argued that plastic bag laws create a patchwork of mismatched regulations that increase costs for stores and confuse customers.
Only one Arizona city — Bisbee, in the southeastern corner of the state, population 5,575 — had so far approved a ban on single-use plastic bags and a 5-cent tax on paper ones. But other cities, including Kingman, Tempe and Flagstaff, were considering bag bans or taxes. Bisbee's ban went into effect on Earth Day 2014; the new state law overturns it.
In 2008 and 2009, the Arizona state legislature tried and failed to pass several plastic bag-related bills, including a state-wide ban and state-wide mandatory recycling.
The law is the first of its kind in the United States, though Missouri is considering a similar measure and Georgia lawmakers voted down a ban on bans earlier this year.