Snowmass bag question: Paper or plastic? How about canvas?
October 30, 2012
SNOWMASS VILLAGE – The town of Snowmass Village will ask residents for advice on Tuesday, Election Day: Should they support some kind of policy on the distribution and use of plastic and paper bags?
Because 2A is an advisory question, voter approval doesn’t mean a specific ordinance would be implemented at this time, but it would give town staff a nod to begin working on a policy to limit bags on some level.
“It’s not … if you say ‘yes’ you’re locked into a certain thing,” said Sally Sparhawk, resident and chairwoman of the town’s Environmental Advisory Board. “It’s ‘yes, we at Snowmass Village should explore this.'”
Aspen and Carbondale this year enacted ordinances requiring their grocery stores to stop distributing plastic bags and charge their customers 20 cents for paper.
“There are many options … that range from just voluntarily encouraging people to bring bags to the store to what Aspen does, to even more,” Sparhawk said. “We could do something very true to Snowmass and our guests.”
At a meeting this summer, Mayor Bill Boineau asked the Town Council if it wanted to create an ordinance similar to those in Aspen and Carbondale to put before voters this fall. The council determined there wasn’t enough time to gather information and draft such a thing by the deadline for election items. The officials then voted to ask an advisory question in this election to gauge whether a policy on bags was something in which town residents were interested.
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Snowmass Village guests have been a primary concern for some about bag legislation. John Buxman, owner of Village Market, the only traditional grocery store in the resort community, expressed a popular complaint: “It gets more complicated in our particular case because of all the tourists that we have, who know nothing about these local issues.”
Sparhawk said that in Breckenridge, condominiums put out cards in guest rooms that explain the bag policy there.
“There are ways … to make sure guests have access to bags,” she said.
The bag ordinances in Aspen and Carbondale apply only to the City Market stores in both localities and the Clark’s Market location in Aspen. Buxman said that while such policies typically apply only to conventional grocery stores, he hopes that Snowmass Village includes other businesses as well, adding that that might be more effective at reducing waste, too.
“As a citizen, it would be my hope that everyone will be included,” Buxman said.
Village Market has its administrative offices in Glenwood Springs. Buxman is not a Snowmass Village resident and can’t vote on the question.
Buxman said his business understands the spirit of what proponents of a bag policy are trying to do.
“We’re not unlike our neighbors,” he said. “We’re concerned about those kinds of things, too.”