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Fort Collins may vote on plastic bag ban in April election

Time:2020-12-17     Author:Assi【Original】   Read


Fort Collins City Council is moving ahead with a ballot measure asking voters if the city should ban single-use plastic bags at large grocers and charge a fee for paper bags starting in May 2022.

Council members voted 5-2 at their Tuesday meeting to have staff draft an ordinance on the plastics issue, which council is expected to review and vote on in January. The measure could then appear on the April 2021 ballot.

The city has contemplated regulations on plastic bags several times since 2013, but this is the closest the issue has ever gotten to the ballot and the first time city officials have favored a ban on plastic bags rather than a fee.

The ballot measure may also include proposed implementation dates for other kinds of retailers. The proposed paper bag fee, which hasn't been finalized yet, would likely be somewhere between 5 and 20 cents. Lower-income residents wouldn't have to pay the fee. Past proposals have addressed this by suggesting the fee not apply to shoppers using food stamps.

The ban would apply only to single-use "point of sale" bags — the kind that many people bag their groceries in. 

Council members who support the ballot measure, including Mayor pro-tem Kristin Stephens and council members Julie Pignataro, Ross Cunniff, Emily Gorgol and Susan Gutowsky, said it will help the community mitigate microplastic pollution and reduce the volume of flimsy, difficult-to-recycle plastic bags in the community waste stream. 

Plastic bags are caught against a fence near Fort CollinsÕ Timberline Recycling Center in Fort Collins, Colo. on Sunday, Dec. 16, 2020.

At least 13 other communities in Colorado, including Boulder and Denver, have a ban or fee in place for single-use plastic bags. Eight states have banned plastic bags statewide.

"I feel like we're a little late to the party here," Pignataro said. "This is something our community has been asking about for a while. When children come to us at council, this is what they ask for, which is great. Let's do something for the future of this community."

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