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Plastic bag-fee vote: Will Denverites soon pay an extra nickel per bag at bigger stores?

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PowerPoint images below.
The debate about whether or not Denver shoppers should pay a fee for disposable plastic bags has been going on for well over a year.

But finally, a measure that would charge five cents per bag at many stores will be considered by the Denver City Council tonight -- and at this writing, the majority of members appear to support it. Look below for details, including the complete bill and a PowerPoint presentation created by one of its main backers.

Back in June 2012, our Sam Levin first got wind of a possible plastic bag ordinance in Denver while attending a Colorado Municipal League conference in Breckenridge. At one session, a Durango City Council member pressed Denver mayor Michael Hancock on the issue

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Photo by Sam Levin
Colorado Municipal League executive director Sam Mamet and Denver mayor Michael Hancock at a CML event in June 2012.
In response, Hancock said, "I've had a conversation with a member of the Denver City Council who wants...an ordinance to ban plastic bags.... One of the things he and I talked about is, of course, the alternative, so that it's not a regressive effort where people who are barely able to walk to the grocery store to eat have to now figure out how they pay for their bags as well. How do we do that? So he is considering it, looking at other towns, best practices.

"I just want to make sure we address those concerns," Hancock added.

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Debbie Ortega.
Hancock apparently feels a fix for these potential problems remains elusive. As noted by 9News, the mayor opposes the bag-fee bill because he thinks it disproportionately effects poor and elderly people and could push some customers to do their shopping outside Denver city limits. He's threatened to veto the bill if it passes.

As for the arguments in favor of the bill, which is up for final consideration tonight, they're encapsulated in an August PowerPoint presentation by Councilwoman Debbie Ortega, among the main advocates on behalf of the concept. The measure calls for a five-cent-per-bag fee at stores larger than 1,500 square feet that get more than 2 percent of their revenue from sales of what are described as "staple foodstuffs or other perishable items." Of that nickel, two cents would stay with the stores to cover administrative costs and the like, while the other three pennies would go to "a program to mitigate the effects of trash associated with disposable bags (distribute reusable bags, conduct public education with retailers and the public, enforcement)."

The PowerPoint also lists plenty of cities nationally and in Colorado that have instituted a similar policy in regard to disposable bags.

Even if the council favors the measure at tonight's meeting -- and as shown by the recent reversal on an amendment about smoking marijuana on front porches, even items that seem like slam dunks can bounce off the rim -- payouts would still be a ways off. The bill's effective date is April 22, 2014 -- Earth Day.

Here are the key elements of the aforementioned PowerPoint, followed by the complete bill.

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Continue for more about tonight's plastic bag-fee vote by Denver City Council, including more of Councilwoman Debbie Ortega's PowerPoint and the complete bill.


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36 comments
Don Finley
Don Finley

Ask to pay for bags that were forced on everyone by the same wackos that banned recycled paper bags in favor of plastic and now want them banned too? No, proper shopping bags have to be made of 100% cotton grown in 3rd world countries, picked by virgins and hand woven in child labor camps... or as we like to say "organic".

Tobey A Anderson
Tobey A Anderson

It's beyond convenience or economics. It's become a serious and obvious environmental issue. Therefore it should be a government concern. If it means reducing the number of plastic bags produced, used and then cast to the wind I'm all for it.

Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

Guess Denver doesn't want me to shop in the strip of Denver they annexed down the middle of my neighborhood. It's okay. I've got all the stores I need outside Denver, except Costco, and they use boxes.

Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

How about the store who provides the plastic bags decide whether to charge, instead of the city, who doesn't provide shit?

"Gee, Jan, do we want to scam money off shoppers?"

"Yes, Harold, I believe we do."

"Let's call it a 'fee,' Jan."

"Good idea!"

Remember when the tree huggers made paper bags go away? Remember when the leftists decided we should fry things in trans-fats instead of animal fat?

The more things change….

D Noe
D Noe

Okay. Replace "ban" with "require companies to charge patrons for" and my concern remains the same. It's not the city council's place to tell businesses that they can't provide their customers with plastic bags to use. I am no proponent of plastic bags. I just don't care for the city council. lol

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Charge those MMJ Dispensaries for all the Petro-Plastic Bags they use and other Environmental RAPE they commit.


Rebecca Repp
Rebecca Repp

California also outlawed Styrofoam to go boxes too. There are other ways to bring your food home besides Styrofoam and your own tuperwear. It is super unhealthy to have your food in those anyway.

Rebecca Repp
Rebecca Repp

California charges you if you don't bring your own bag at all grocery stores and Walmart and places like that. I think its a good idea. It might make me remember to bring my bags lol

D Noe
D Noe

City Council seems to want to stick their noses in business where it doesn't belong. It should be up to the business. Are they also going to ban these bags from Target, Walmart and every other bricks-n-mortar store in Denver? What about styrofoam to-go boxes from restaurants? Should we have to bring our own tupperware? Or screw it just ban cars from Denver because they leak oil and emit pollution. Hey you got RTD, make due. How about we ban bullies and shitty weather and anything else they can think of......... Personally, I use the plastic bags and then recycle them at Soopers.

stuka1
stuka1

Yet another reason this idiot needs to be recalled.

Sher Quintana
Sher Quintana

Yes! If it gets rid of and/or gets people to reuse the plastic Yes! Yes!

Priya Butani Nye
Priya Butani Nye

If you buy a bulky or electronic item at an ARC store, they will often bag it in a reusable tote for no charge because they get so many donated.

Katie Clapham-Drew
Katie Clapham-Drew

No because I use them to pick up dog poo. so I need them and reuse them.

Sarah Elizabeth Korus
Sarah Elizabeth Korus

A re-usable bag is not that expensive. You can usually pick them up for a $1 anywhere or just reuse your plastic bags. I have so many I need to recycle that I would never need to purchase a reusable bag again.

Priya Butani Nye
Priya Butani Nye

It's NOT a tax, people! Plastic bags can be re-used too.

fishingblues
fishingblues topcommenter

When are people going to wake up and begin the wholesale slaughter of all liberals and dumb-ass liberal ideas?  

James Foy
James Foy

Quick hint to the City Council-again?

Priya Butani Nye
Priya Butani Nye

Yes!!!! Should have been done YEARS AGO!!!! Re-usable totes are sturdier and very inexpensive....just add up how many could be purchased with one month's worth of purchases on plastic!

WillieStortz
WillieStortz topcommenter

Debbie Ortega will seal her fate if this oppressive, atrocity of law passes. We'll guarantee that the vengeful bitch is voted out of office.


It's an ill conceived law that puts most of the burden on the poor and elderly with it's regressive tax format, all while kicking more money back to the big corporate grocery stores.


It's great to encourage people to reduce trash but an illegal tax is not the way to do it. 

How about we ban bars from selling bottled beer? Kegs only?

Might as well ban gift wrapping?

Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

There isn't a public issue the government doesn't see as an excuse to steal.

Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay

How about we charge you a troll charge?

What's with all the hate on MMJ anyway?

Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay @Cognitive_Dissident


It has nothing to do with the ability "to afford" it. It has to do with principle, which is foreign to trolls, and apparently "councilwomen." 


Does anyone except the village idiot have a comment? 

fishingblues
fishingblues topcommenter

@robert_grahamcracker   I'm so pleased  to have the shit-stain stalker now following me around.  Are you going to change your name to fishing bluescracker, you nimrod loser?  If you want to continue getting your flabby ass handed to you in two states, keep following.  You will find I'm not as brain dead as your friend robert graham.   


Why don't you continue to deny all the things you claim you aren't.  Dumb ass, don't you know that your vehement denials lend credence to the accusations.   Jazus!, you are stupid. 

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