Denver leaders consider 5-cent charge to use plastic or paper bags

Posted on: 9:00 pm, August 13, 2013, by

DENVER — The city of Denver is now considering charging a fee to store customers who use plastic or paper bags.

The goal of the measure is to reduce waste to landfills by 20 percent.

Studies suggest 130 million single use bags are used every year by grocery and convenience stores.

In fact, one report indicates there are 111 7-Elevens in Denver alone. They are said to generate 32 million bags.

The proposal would see customers charged 5 cents per bag with 2 cents going to the stores in the program and 3 cents going back to the city to administer the bag project—which is estimated to cost $1.6 billion dollars to operate.

“We think it makes sense to try to deal with the issue of throw-away bags,” said Councilor-at-large Debbie Ortega. “We tried this for about five years, but that program saw consumers get the 5 cents. But that program has kind of faded.”

The council committee hearing the matter took a bit of public testimony.

Nine people spoke. Some liked the proposal, but others said Council was simply doing an end-run on the Tabor Amendment.

One speaker even asked the committee to hold off for a year until all the numbers being tossed around like paper bags, could be fully vetted.