Across the globe, since 1999, over 30 countries and 25 US cities have either begun charging for single-use plastic and paper bags or banned them all together. For reasons that range from economic impact to environmental protection to reduction of dependency on foreign oil, these countries and cities are doing the right thing.
Steamboat grocers tried the 5cent credit for reusable bags, and placed 3rd (in total reusable bags used) in the 2009 Colorado Association of Ski Towns Bag Challenge. But the competition and credit were simply not enough to encourage the long term reduction in single use bags.
Our environment is important to our locals and visitors. We support City Council in taking the next step to reducing plastic in our environment by enlisting a green fee for single use plastic and paper bags in Steamboat’s large, high use stores that sell groceries.
Free Bags are Just Too Expensive!
* United States uses 100 billion plastic bags per year, equaling 12 million barrels of petroleum or 504 million gallons
* Stores spend over $4 billion each year on plastic bags and the cost is passed on to the consumer
* 13 bags = petroleum to drive 1 mile
* Plastic bags take 400 – 1,000 years to biodegrade
* Less than 10% of plastic bags are recycled
* Paper bags are no better: they are high in water, energy, and cost to create, and use 14 million trees annually
* An estimated 100,000 marine mammals and up to 1 million sea birds die every year after ingesting or being tangled in plastic marine litter.
* Plastic bags travel: they float easily in the air and water
* They have been found on the bottom of the ocean and the top of Mt. Everest
* They are litter; clogging waterways and sewers
* They contaminate compost and hinder recycling efforts
What other Colorado Mountain towns are doing [UPDATED]:
* Telluride October, 2010 banned plastic bags + 10 cents per bag fee on “permitted paper bags”
* Aspen September, 2011, passed first reading a complete bag ban on all non reusable bags at grocers
* Basalt September, 2011, passed first reading a complete bag ban on all non reusable bags at grocers
* Carbondale September 2011, first reading is scheduled on ordinance for 20 cents per bag fee on all non reusable bags at grocers
The Steamboat Way – Focus on Community! Suggested Solutions & Opportunities:
* Begin with a “trial program” which can be reviewed modified, and managed
* Consider starting with all non reusable shopping bags at large, high use stores that sell groceries - focus on the goal of reducing plastic use
* The stores have and will continue to be our “bag partners,” have participating stores retain 1-2c/bag without a maximum
* Let other stores opt in, at their discretion
* Any proposed fee should be meaningful towards reducing non reusable bag use: consider keeping it on par with regional discussions at 20c
* Keep it similar to Routt County’s tipping fee, with funds targeted toward waste reduction, recycling and other environmental programs
* A “bag program” to purchase bags for low income residents and to offer reusable bags at a discount
* Public information and store signage are also possibilities for a “bag program”
Preview our powerpoint to City Council: https://docs.google.com/present/view?id=dgcxvjrn_41f329b2dd
View the trailer to the movie "Bag It" http://www.bagitmovie.com/
Plastic bag video by kids: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4xQlhTudS0&feature=related