Reader: Could Plastic Bag Fee Go Toward Snow Plowing?

Are these worth ten cents?EXPAND
Are these worth ten cents?

On Tuesday, December 3, members of a Denver City Council committee unanimously praised an ordinance, called the "Bring Your Own Bag Ordinance Proposal," that would place a fee on bags provided by retailers, particularly supermarkets. It will move on to the full council later this month.

The initiative's backers say it will move Denver a step closer to reducing waste. But detractors argue that it's another game of Californication. Here are some comments from readers:

Says Dee:

Oh, man, I can't wait to read all the comments from conservatives about grocery stores “stealing” their money (for not giving them free bags) or “turning into California” (the state that has the 5th largest economy on the planet...)

Responds Dalton:

This type of left-wing crap is why I never spend a dime in Denver.

Notes Jared:

It’s so easy to bring bags. You buy them one time.

Asks Vicki:

Will the money go to clearing streets after it snows? Then sold, I’m in!

Comments Layla:

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I always laugh at people in cities who fight this. Seven years ago, I bought four bags for $1 each for my groceries. It’s not hard, y’all. Austin launched this for a bit and the city loved it. Unfortunately, the state of Texas does not give one shit about plastic and its impact on the environment, so they removed the bag ban. But most people still bring their own bags. It’s absurd to fight this and say oh no, California! Lol, so stupid.

The ordinance, which Mayor Michael Hancock has endorsed, still needs formal approval from the full council. If it passes that hurdle, the fee would take effect in mid-2020 and mandate that grocery stores, gas stations and other retailers charge ten cents per single-use bag, whether plastic or paper. Retailers would keep four cents, while the City of Denver would get six.

According to Councilwoman Kendra Black, Denver residents use between 150 million and 250 million plastic bags each year. If consumers lowered their single-use bag usage by 70 percent, the city would pull in $1.8 million in fees from the remaining 30 percent that continued to use disposable bags. The money that the city collects from the fee would be used for things like education and marketing about the fee program, reusable-bag giveaways, and administrative and enforcement costs. The ordinance would call for stores in Denver to report bag-usage data to the city and turn money over on a quarterly basis. In mid-2021, the city would form a task force to examine the data and recommend any necessary alterations to the ordinance.

The fee would only affect bags customers get at checkout, not those used to wrap things like meat or produce. People who use food stamps would be exempt from paying the fee.

What do you think about the plastic bag fee? Let us know in a comment or at editorial@westword.com.

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