Denver City Council committee approves proposal requiring fees for plastic, paper bags

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DENVER — Denver City Council has taken its first step toward requiring shoppers to pay a fee for single-use plastic and paper bags.

The Finance and Governance Committee approved the ordinance Tuesday evening, Councilwoman Kendra Black confirmed.

Black chairs the committee.

“We’ve just gotten used to plastic bags and then throwing them away — only using them once. And it’s estimated that only one percent of them get recycled,” Black said in September.

Black says plastic grocery bags are not recyclable and can actually be detrimental to the recycling process.

“You can’t actually put them in a purple recycling bin in Denver,” Black said. “Or in a suburb, most of the trash haulers won’t take plastic bags. They actually end up damaging the machinery at recycling facilities. So a lot of them just end up as litter.”

In cities with similar ordinances already in place, bag fees generally range from 5 to 25 cents per bag.

If the whole City Council approves the proposal, it will go to Mayor Michael Hancock’s desk.

According to Black, a similar proposal was introduced in 2013 but it did not pass.

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