This effort by the legislature has, not surprisingly, been unpopular at the city level. Tempe City Councilwoman Lauren Kuby said she finds it ironic the way the state oversees cities when considering the way the state often complains about federal overreach.
It's been a back-and-forth issue between cities and the Arizona State Legislature for a few months now, what to do about plastic bags?
Cities such as Tempe have toyed with the idea of outlawing the bags because of their affect on the environment and the difficulty they create during the recycling process. In fact, with the price of oil down, some recycling companies have even stopped recycling plastic bags all together because there's not enough profit margin, according to NPR's Planet Money.
Meanwhile, the state legislature has worked to pass a bill that would supersede the efforts of cities and towns to ban plastic bags by stripping away their authority to do so. Advocates for this effort say it could make doing business difficult for companies who have locations in cities with bans, and others that don't. Garrick Taylor with the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry said it's not necessarily an effort to avoid getting rid of plastic bags as much as it is to keep regulation in the hands of the state.
"It makes it difficult for folks like grocery stores or restaurants to have to navigate these various regulations, and so we thought this was a matter of statewide concern aNd best handled by the legislature." -- Garrick Taylor
"Why would the state want to get involved in the waste management business? This has been a responsibility of cities and towns for generations and generations ... do we really want the state deciding what local communities should be doing in its city?" -- Lauren kuby
But while banning plastic bags might have an adverse affect on some businesses, their use continues to be a source of headaches for others. Arizona's cotton industry faces hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost product each year from plastic bags contaminating harvests. And while the industry hasn't been making a concerted effort to sway legislation one way or the other, industry professionals say it certainly wouldn't hurt if plastic bags disappeared.
Listen to the full report here: