Aspen backs plastic bag ban, approves fee on paper bags in grocery stores

By Troy Hooper
Real AspenOctober 14, 2011
Aspen City Council this week voted to ban plastic bags from the town's grocery stores and enact a 20-cent fee on paper bags.

A month ago, Basalt approved a fee of 20 cents on plastic and paper bags and it is considering a ban on plastic ones.

Carbondale is also mulling a ban on plastic bags.

The bans and fees aim to diminish the amount of paper and plastic that ends up in local landfills and spoils the natural environment. Councilman Torre has been pushing for the ban ever since returning fro a sailing trip where he discovered islands of plastic bags floating through the seas. He has also lamented pulling plastic bags out of the Roaring Fork Valley's rivers.

Aspen's rules go into effect May 1.

Officials say the ordinances are intended to change human behavior and get people accustomed to shopping with reusable cloth bags, or some other environmentally friendly alternative.

Regulating grocery store bags comes off as over-reaching government interference in the marketplace to many consumers.

Others wonder why retail stores shouldn't be subjected to similar legislation.

Even so, there is popular support for bag bans and fees in progressive cities across the country and around the world. Elsewhere in Colorado, Telluride has banned plastic bags and taxes paper ones, and Boulder is considering fees on plastic bags after a group of Fairview High School students began lobbying the city.

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