The Breckenridge Town Council passed on a proposal that would ban plastic bags at large grocery stores and encourage other retailers to cut back on single-use bags, calling the plan unfair.
It was the first time town leaders have
reacted to a concrete plan for bag reduction in Breckenridge since the new
council put the issue at the top of its priority list last year.
officials said they weren't willing to adopt a proposal that treated single-use
bags differently depending on who gave them out.
“This grocery versus
retail thing, I'm adamantly opposed to that,” Councilman Mike Dudick said. “If
plastic bags are bad, they're bad. We, as a community, can't be kind of pregnant
Without voting on it, the council returned the proposal to the
SustainableBreck Business Task Force — the panel of individuals from local the
restaurant, retail and lodging industries who drafted the plan — asking for
revisions last week.
City Market has declined to comment on the
bag-reduction discussions to the Summit Daily, but town staffers said the
company indicated it would not oppose or support a bag ban initiative during
discussions with the town.
Town leaders also indicated they wanted a
plan that would target both plastic and paper bags. Paper bags require more
energy than plastic to manufacture, according to town staffers.
bag reduction strategies are currently on the table: a full ban of plastic and
possibly paper bags, a fee on each bag — the revenue from which might be
directed toward a bag-reduction marketing and education campaign — and a
voluntary program encouraging local businesses, residents and visitors to move
away from the use of plastic bags.
The task force proposal recommended
banning plastic bags at large grocers in Breckenridge within six months,
imposing a fee on paper bags and encouraging smaller retailers in town to
decrease bag use, with benchmarks over the next few years.
received generally favorable feedback from the community.
More than 80
percent of people surveyed at a public forum and 66 percent questioned online
supported the idea of banning plastic bags at large grocery stores.
Approximately 80 percent of respondents at the forum and online backed the idea
of asking retailers to voluntarily scale back on single-use bags.
feel strongly that we should ban bags at all stores,” one unidentified online
respondent stated. “Besides the use of petroleum in making them and long life in
the landfill, they are unsightly trash hanging from our trees and bushes around
Opponents of the bag reduction plan generally cite the possible
implications on Breckenridge's tourist economy, fueled by visitors who may not
be aware of, prepared for or patient with a bag ban when they arrive in town.
“Breckenridge bends over backwards to please tourists,” another unnamed
community member stated in an online comment. “Tourists don't come prepared for
anything, let alone bring returnable bags on a trip.”
suggested using money generated by a single-use bag fee to supply local lodging
companies and shuttle services with reusable bags branded with Breckenridge or
local business logos to be provided to visitors.
Both Aspen and
Telluride have implemented somewhat-successful bag bans in recent years. Fees on
bags have been effective in reducing use in other jurisdictions, according to
Approximately 14 million trees are cut and 12 million
barrels of oil used annually to produce paper and plastic bags. Billions of bags
end up as litter every year and are ingested by wildlife, introducing toxic
chemicals into the food chain, a memo from town staff stated.
Posted for Nancy Yearout
RE/MAX Properties of the Summit