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Ban on Use of Plastic Bag to Promote Custom Shopping Bag Proves Profitable for Aspen

aspen ban on plastic bags

A ban on the use of plastic bags was implemented in May 2012 in the city of Aspen. Since the ban was implemented, the city claims to have collected in fees a sum of amount $44,826 associated with the ban on plastic bags. Out of this amount, about $20,000 has been paid towards implementation of the ban and to public outreach. As per the ordinance, a 20-cent fee for each bag distributed is levied at store checkouts.

Ban on Plastic Bags Helps City in Collecting $44K With Custom Shopping Bags

Ban on plastic bags and fee on the use of paper bags in the city helped it in collecting $44K. In the first update on the program given to Aspen City Council members recently, Ashley Perl from Health and Sustainability department raised concerns over two grocers, Clark’s and City Market. They did not comply with the fee assessment. Fudging on the bag fee was expected and therefore it was proposed to conduct an audit to determine compliance level of the two grocers.

Dwayne Romero, council member, however, favored education and outreach over audit. The other council members, like Adam Frisch, agreed with this proposal as he thinks that the bags are not a big issue, while outreach will make a huge impact.

There were several more proposals. One proposal was to partner with local lodges so that visitors to Aspen could be provided with reusable bags upon arriving in the city. This proposal was made by Romero. This could make reusable bags as popular as second nature with people.

There has been almost unanimous acceptance of the proposal favoring the use of reusable bags. Mayor Steve Skadron was excited about the program. According to him, the coolest thing in Aspen was to be seen with a reusable bag. Torre, former council member, who was instrumental in the ban, was given an appreciative nod by Skadron.

While the ban has been universally acclaimed, the ban also invited backlash from some quarters. A taxpayer advocacy group based in Boulder filed a lawsuit in August 2012 against four council men and Mayor, Mick Ireland over the fee.

Why Use a Reusable Custom Shopping Bag Over Plastic Bag

Reusable custom shopping bags are beginning to emerge as nearly a universal norm, not just in Aspen. However, fee over the shopping bags is a bone of contention. The fee is being seen as constitutional because the voters were not given the opportunity to debate the issue.

However, it is important to understand that reusable bags are environmentally friendly and non-polluting, while plastic bags are hugely damaging to the environment. Unless the law intervenes, it is unlikely that many people will begin using reusable bags. So, a legitimate ban on plastic bags is the only way to implement the environmentally sound measure.


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