Colorado city official seeks plastics industry help after bag fee fails

By Gayle S. Putrich
Staff Reporter

Published: March 22, 2013 2:28 pm ET
Updated: March 22, 2013 2:31 pm ET

Related to this story

Topics Sustainability, Government & Legislation
Companies & Associations American Chemistry Council

WASHINGTON — While Fort Collins, Colo., will not become the latest U.S. city to charge a fee for plastic bags after a failed March 18 vote, some city officials are looking to the plastics industry for help and suggestions

The proposal to impose a 10-cent-per-bag fee on paper and plastic bags at grocery stores failed on a 3-3 vote. One council member was absent, but "almost certainly would have voted for it," one city official said. The fee was expected to bring in an estimated $976,000 in 2014, according to city officials. That income would have been split 60-40 with retailers. The city's 60 percent share would have been used to pay part-time employees to administer the program and to fund educational recycling and environmental programs.

The council and city staff had been looking at some version of a bag ordinance for more than two years, said Susie Gordon, senior environmental planner with the city of Fort Collins, with options ranging from an outright ban to a fee of 5 or 10 cents to stepped-up recycling efforts.

"It kind of just kept getting pushed off the agenda," Gordon said. There was not the overwhelming opposition to the fee some municipalities have seen, she said, but there was not overwhelming support for it, either.

It is "entirely likely" a fee or ban proposal could resurface in Fort Collins, Gordon said, particularly given the approach the city takes toward environmental issues. The city has had a long-term environmental policy and waste-reduction plan in place since the mid-1990s, and earlier this month it passed an ordinance requiring residents and businesses to recycle corrugated cardboard rather than put it in the trash.

There is a citywide recycling effort for single-use plastic bags, she said, but it does not have much of a following, in spite of outreach efforts. Every grocery store has a 50-gallon drum for customers to drop off used plastic bags. "But they're usually overflowing. Or else no one can find them or they're not well-marked so no one knows what they're for," she said.

Gordon said instead of another run at a fee or a bag ban, she would like to see the plastics industry and the American Chemistry Council work with the city of 150,000 on a better recycling solution for single-use plastic grocery bags and other thin films, including coming up with a "bag-specific receptacle" to keep light plastics from blowing away and help locating a nearby recycler for whom the film has value.

"People want to bring their collection of grocery bags in a giant Hefty trash bag. They want to recycle their bread bags and newspaper wrappers and dry cleaning bags. But [the city] needs help finding someone to take the bags," she said.


Comments

Colorado city official seeks plastics industry help after bag fee fails

By Gayle S. Putrich
Staff Reporter

Published: March 22, 2013 2:28 pm ET
Updated: March 22, 2013 2:31 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Composite bridge maker also leading the way in installation

August 22, 2014 1:21 pm ET

Lightweight, low maintenance and strong, fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) bridge decks finally are crossing the line from specialty projects to wider...    More

Image

Recycled HDPE prices climbing

August 22, 2014 11:26 am ET

North American selling prices for recycled grades of high density polyethylene resin have increased in recent months because of tight supplies of the ...    More

Image

Non-recyclable items gumming up the works at recycling centers

August 21, 2014 3:46 pm ET

The influx of all sorts of unacceptable items at recycling centers has gotten to the point that Charlotte, N.C.-based ReCommunity is trying to bring...    More

Image

Bayer, SCAC partner on water reuse project

August 21, 2014 12:48 pm ET

Bayer MaterialScience (BMS) and Shanghai Chlor-Alkali Chemical Co. Ltd. (SCAC) have entered into a preliminary agreement for the reuse of waste water ...    More

North American Plastics Alliance celebrates three years, and welcomes Anipac

August 20, 2014 1:35 pm ET

Three years ago, the three leading plastics industry associations in the U.S. and Canada formally joined forces to create the North American Plastics ...    More

Market Reports

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook North America

This in-depth report analyzes economic and market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as growth strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies.

Learn more

Pipe, Profile & Tubing Extrusion in North America 2014

U.S. demand for extruded plastics is expected to grow by 3 percent in 2014, with PVC remaining the largest segment.

Plastic pipe will post the strongest gains through 2018, continuing to take market share from competing materials in a range of markets.

Our latest market report provides in-depth analysis of current trends and their financial impact on the pipe, profile and tubing extrusion industry in North America.

Learn more

2014 Injection Molding Industry Report

GROWTH, OPPORTUNITY IN SIGHT FOR INJECTION MOLDERS IN 2014

In the wake of the economic turbulence earlier in this decade, molders today find themselves in much better shape. Molders are gaining a competitive advantage by investing in people, equipment and seeking inroads into new markets on a global scale.

Growth in the injection molding industry is going to be driven by low financing costs and a continued move to reshore some business.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events