No Statewide Plastic Bag Ban

Last modified on March 2, 2009 by Site Administrator

“This bill, like many of those before it, is emblematic of the problems that result from trying to translate good intentions into government control.”

-Senator Shawn Mitchell
Colorado State Senator, District 23

Colorado lawmakers rejected the Plastic Bag Reduction Act (Senate Bill 156) on February 25th. The bill was initially proposed by students at Kent Denver School and aimed to charge 6 cents for each plastic bag distributed at stores with gross annual sales over $1 million or 10,000 sq. ft. of retail space.

However, lawmakers said they were contacted by numerous constituents who raised concerns over increased use of paper bags, which are costlier to manufacture and transport. Paper bags are also deemed worse for the environment than plastic because it releases methane gas and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere during decomposition.

The bill was also rejected in light of new efforts to recycle plastic that would be unaffected by the ban, including newspaper delivery and dry cleaning bags. Many supermarkets in the state had also just started to accept plastic bag recycling and it was feared that a ban would prematurely halt recycling efforts.


Colorado lawmakers bag statewide plastic bag ban, from on February 25, 2009
This local news article addresses the defeated statewide bill to ban plastic bags. The the bill’s sponsor, Senator Jennifer Veia, believes that the bill was not passed because no other state has called for an outright ban on plastic bags and that Colorado lawmakers were skeptical of being the first. A number of residents did not want to give up plastic bag usage and it was a concern that a ban would cause consumers to switch to paper bags, which is worse for the environment. The article illustrates that the plastic bag is a heated topic nationwide and that a number of cities and states have similar proposals in the works.

Grocery bag fee bill dies; Would have charged 6 cents per bag, from Denver News Daily, February 25, 2009
This article describes reasons behind the rejection of a statewide plastic bag ban in Colorado. The article argues that banning plastic bags would be more harmful to the environment because of the shift to paper bags, which requires 60% more energy, 70% more air, and 50 times more water pollutants than plastic bags.

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