Almost Three Hundred Paper Bags Used Daily after Plastic Bag Ban
August 29, 2012 by
Ever since the plastic bag ban was introduced in the city of Aspen, a twenty cent fee was imposed for each paper bag bought by shoppers at grocery stores. Even though the fee on the bags is considered to be an unconstitutional tax and is being challenged in a lawsuit, the imposition of the fee brought in almost $4000 in the first 2 months itself.
The amount collected equals almost 19,750 paper grocery bags bought in the grocery stores of Aspen, with an average of 324 bags each day. In October last year, the City Council passed a ban on usage of plastic bags at any grocery or retail store in the city. They also imposed a fee on paper bags sold at these stores.
All this was done as an initiative, which took effect on 1st of May in order to help the city turn eco-friendly. Also, the initiative would encourage the residents to use wholesale reusable bags or seed paper totes while they shop.
Twenty Five Percent of the Fee Revenue Goes to the Store After Plastic Bag Ban
Of the entire amount collected at each grocery store, 25 percent of it is allowed to be kept by the store. The amount kept by each grocery store can be up to thousand dollars per month, till the first year ends. Part of the revenue collected is allowed to be kept by the stores in order to help them with the entire transition. According to the city data available, almost $3000 was collected in the first few months.
Fee on Seed Paper and Other Grocery Bags Called ‘Waste Reduction Fee’
Since the grocery store owners didn’t share how many bags were being given away before the ban was imposed, it is quite unclear as to what extent this law has changed consumer behavior. The fee collected as part of the ban is called as ‘waste reduction fee’.
It can be used for education campaigns for the public regarding recycling and trash. Also, the fund can be used to provide the residents with wholesale reusable totes or to reduce pollution and help recycling.
However, the Colorado Union filed a lawsuit against the fee and called it a tax that was violating the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, since the city council members never put the bag ban policy up for a public vote.