Some of you have probably caught wind of an Aspen movement to place a fee on disposable, single-use paper and plastic bags.
Decision makers have asked other valley towns to weigh in on this topic to take advantage of regional momentum and consistent ordinance language. The foundation issue here is to reduce the customer service expectation of “free” plastic and paper bags so a fee is even a Band-Aid.
Fact: Some people take the time to call grocery stores when free cookie samples are taken away. Globally, we need to stop sending plastic bags to the oceans. They do not disintegrate; they simple dissolve into minuscule plastic pieces eaten by sea animals. Do a web search on Pacific Garbage Patch or watch the movie “Bag It” and it will make you take a step back.
There are many layers to this onion, but as a point of clarification this is a fee and not a ban … yet. A ban is what would really get folks to pay attention, but a fee will create an income stream for the retailer and the town. The fee is tapping into some social nerves that some have about being told what to do. Yes, nobody likes to be told what to do but this is truly the only way we are going to make change.
Now for the math part. This is a 20 cent fee per bag. Let’s say you have to buy even five disposable bags in a trip; this equals $1. Once a week shopping, four times a month, 48 times a year and you are at $48. This is 12 lattes or microbrews, three concert tickets, seven packs of gourmet cigarettes, monthly car insurance or one garage-sale bike. You could buy four reusable bags for $48 and stick one in every nook and cranny to help you remember to take them in the store. I realize it is difficult to remember.
The Carbondale Food Co-op and Vitamin Cottage have no bags; period. Use your arms, a box or a bike basket. Let’s keep the discussion going.
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