Denver City Council working on proposal to charge shoppers who use plastic bags

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Several Denver City Council members are working on a proposal to potentially charge grocery shoppers a fee for using plastic bags over reusable bags.

“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,” Councilwoman Kendra Black said.

Black said she is working on a proposal with two other council members that they hope to introduce to the full council this fall. She says she has been meeting with local grocery stores, gas stations, environmental groups and others.

“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.”

Several Colorado cities currently charge a fee for using plastic bags. Black says a potential fee will be similar to other cities and range anywhere from five to 25 cents.

“When there is a fee it changes the behavior a lot,” Black said.

Black says a similar proposal was introduced in 2013 but did not pass.

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