Denver Plastic Bag Fee on the Horizon?

by Aubrey Dangelo

Widener University Political Science Major

The city of Denver, Colorado is considering the implementation of a city-wide fee on plastic bags, in an attempt to discourage their usage. If the measure passes, consumers will have to pay five cents for every single-use plastic bag that they receive from stores to carry their purchases. If the measure is adopted by the government of Denver, the fee will go into effect starting on April 1, 2014. Although this measure is facing a lot of opposition from lobbyists as well as plastic manufacturers, the proposed law is moderate in comparison to the ten cent per bag fees in other Colorado cities such as Breckenridge and Boulder, and the twenty cent per bag fee in both Aspen and Carbondale.
There is no doubt as to why this type of policy is gaining popularity in cities throughout not only the United States, but in cities all over the world. Most of the plastic bags used by consumers wind up in either landfills or in the ocean. Throughout the hundreds of years that it takes these bags to decompose, they release toxins into nearby soil, oceans, lakes and rivers. Pioneering the fight for Denver’s plastic bag fee legislation is City Councilwoman Debbie Ortega, who argues that the proposed ordinance will protect the environment by encouraging people to use reusable bags instead of single-use plastic bags. If individuals are not making responsible choices when it comes to the environment, it is necessary that laws are enforced that encourage them to change their practices, and that is the ultimate goal of this type of legislation.

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