They’re a woven polypropylene material, emblazoned with images of Breckenridge’s iconic splashing Blue River and snow-covered peaks. And they’re just large enough to carry the town’s outreach and education efforts concerning a new initiative to reduce the use of disposable bags.
The Breckenridge Town Council decided Tuesday to buy 50,000 of the locally designed and branded reusable bags, which will be sold and strategically placed around town as a greener alternative to disposable plastic or paper sacks. At $1 each, the town is pairing the $50,000 investment with a new law imposing a 10 cent fee on single-use bags.
Officials say they hope the reusable bags will become an educational and branding tool for the town, promoting the use of reusable bags and sending the Breckenridge name — and web address — all over the country when visitors take the sacks home.
The design features an outdoor panoramic view of Breckenridge, with the Blue River taking center stage. The front and back panels show summer and winter scenes that merge into spring and fall on the sides of the bag. A small space dedicated to text urges the user to “Change the world, one bag at a time” and gives the GoBreck.com URL and the names of the artists who created the design.
It’s intentionally simple. Because the bags are also meant to be a marketing tool, town leaders wanted them to be attractive and opted not to clutter the design with information and explanations of the origins of the program or the corresponding bag-fee policy.
The bags are made of 80 percent recycled materials and are machine washable.
The totes will be sold at Breckenridge retailers. They will also be made available to visitors at hotels and on shuttles so they have an alternative to paying the fee for disposable bags when they go to the grocery stores or do other shopping in town.
Two thousand bags will also be given out to low-income families in the community, and another 2,000 will be handed out for free at events to promote the program.
Breckenridge officials say the town will recoup some of the costs of purchasing the reusable bags through sales and revenues from the disposable bag fee.
The town will roll out the bags in October to coincide with the implementation of the 10 cent disposable bag fee.
The council adopted the bag fee in April after more than a year of community debate on the issue. It is part of an ongoing town-led sustainability effort
Communities that have imposed fees have seen up to 80 percent reductions in the use of disposable bags, according to town staffers.
More than three million plastic bags are used in Breckenridge each year.