Public input welcome: Possible Colorado Springs plastic bag fee

Published: Jul. 29, 2020 at 8:33 AM MDT
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - Colorado Springs City Council will hold a virtual town hall meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday asking the public to weigh in on a 10-cent plastic bag fee that could end up on the November election ballot.

“We have the opportunity to capture some revenue, and work on cleaning up our city, and also at the same time save our environment,” said Yolanda Avila, the councilwoman leading the effort.

Avila says the 10-cent figure is up for negotiation. Thirteen other Colorado cities have a similar fee, including Denver. As it is proposed now, 6 cents of what’s collected from each bag would go to the city mainly for trash clean up.

“I was getting hundreds of emails about trash around the city,” Avila said.

The remaining 4 cents would be for store administrative costs.

Several citizens, like Julie Franklin, say the fee sounds a bit high. “If you’re doing a lot of shopping, that’s going to add up over time, so if you’re on a budget, that’s concerning.”

Avila says that’s the intention. If the city discourages plastic bag use with a fee, the hope is that people would be more inclined to bring reusable bags and thus fewer plastic ones would end up in the environment. Not everyone agrees. One council member told KKTV News partner The Gazette the city should not mandate such a fee.

The pandemic poses a different challenge with reusable bags.

“During COVID, we haven’t been able to use them. At certain shopping places we can’t use them, or even bring them in,” Franklin added.

Some stores are allowing them, but require shoppers to bag their own groceries. Some stores are not allowing them altogether.

Avila says the fee wouldn’t go into effect until July 1, 2021. City council could vote on whether or not to have the fee on the November ballot as soon as August 25th.

Those wanting to join the town hall should email Participants will receive directions on how to join via computer or telephone before the start of the meeting. Those wanting to join need a Microsoft Teams account.

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