I am writing to give you an update on my proposed Bag Fee Ordinance on disposable paper and plastic bags. I am also asking for your input and hope you will contact city council to voice your opinion. You can reach all the council members at:firstname.lastname@example.org Additionally, there will be an opportunity for public comment at the Health/Safety Committee meeting this Tuesday, August 20th, at 1:30pm, followed with discussion by committee members and a vote to advance the ordinance to the full council. The meeting will take place in the City Council Committee Room 391, located in the City & County Building at 1437 Bannock Street in Denver. If you would like to speak about the ordinance, please arrive by 1pm.
My goal with this ordinance has never been for this fee to make money for the city, but rather to change people’s behavior and reduce the consumption of paper and plasticbags. In Denver, we consume an estimated130 million disposable bags a year from grocery and convenience stores. The plastic bags cannot be recycled at our local recycling plants and cause serious problems to the equipment. Instead, they end up in our waste stream, in our rivers and lakes, in trees, storm basins, pipes and inlets, and they litter our parks. I believe that this ordinance will help mitigate these issues and make our city more healthy and sustainable for future generations.
Bill number BR13-0501 mandates grocery and convenience stores that are larger than 1500 square feet and generate more than 2% of their sales from food, to collect $0.05 from customers for every point of sale paper and plastic bag provided at the cash register. Customers will not have to pay for bags used for produce, and are encouraged to re-use their own plastic bags or cloth bags to avoid paying the fee.
The retailers will retain $0.02 to pay for their costs of administering the program, and $0.03 will be remitted to the city for a program to be managed by Denver’s Environmental Health Department to mitigate the effect of paper and plastic bags on our environment. This will include start up efforts and education with retailers on compliance related to the ordinance and with the public about the effects of paper andplastic bags. Environmental Health will purchase reusable bags for distribution to Denver residents.
This proposed ordinance is consistent with the Denver City Council’s established 2014 budget priority accelerating the implementation of Denver’s Solid Waste Master Plan goal of reducing land filled waste from City operations by 30 percent and community waste by 20 percent. A disposable bag fee is also necessary to address the environmental problems associated with disposable bags and to relieve city taxpayers of the costs associated with their use.
I value your input on BR13-050 and encourage you to share your thoughts with my colleagues and me. Below is our legislative calendar for this ordinance and I hope to see you at one of more of these meetings.
· August 20, 1:30pm – Health Safety Committee – Public comment and expected action to move ordinance forward
· August 27, 9:30am – Mayor/Council
· September 9, 5:30 pm – City Council – First reading
· September 16, 5:30 pm – City Council – Second Reading and Public Hearing (anticipated)
Thank you for your time,
Please see the note below from city councilwoman Debbie Ortega on a proposed 5 cent fee per plastic shopping bag. If you have an opinion one way or another on this issue, email city council, attend the meetings or otherwise make your voice heard.