Breckenridge takes aim at disposable bags |

Breckenridge takes aim at disposable bags

Caddie Nath
Summit Daily News
Special to the Daily

BRECKENRIDGE – Breckenridge leaders said they are looking to do away with or greatly reduce the use of single-use plastic bags in town in the near future.

But they’re looking to the community to help determine how and when a bag ban would take effect in Breck.

“The public isn’t going to dissuade us from this goal,” Mayor John Warner said at a council meeting Tuesday. “But the public is going to help shape the process to get to the goal.”

A full bag ban could apply to all businesses in town including grocers, retailers and restaurants. Middle-ground options could include providing visitors with reusable bags branded to represent Breckenridge, allowing paper bags or putting fees on bags.

There was political will across the Breckenridge Town Council to bring about some action toward a ban by the end of this year.

“I’m ready to act,” Councilman Ben Brewer said. “I was cleaning up the river on clean up day … I was pulling those bags out of the river getting more and more incensed every time I had to do that.”

A full bag ban already has the backing of at least a few younger members of the community. A group of 7- to 12-year-olds stood up before the council’s discussion Tuesday to warn them of the impacts of the billions of non-recyclable ultra-thin plastic bags used in the U.S. every day.

“Nearly every plastic bag that gets into the ocean gets eaten by a mammal,” Mara McAtamney, daughter of Councilwoman Jen McAtamney, told leaders and staff at the meeting. “Other countries around the world are making a difference. Even though we are a little town, we’d like to make a difference and ban plastic bags, too. We need your help to get it done.”

The kids offered to help the council put bring about a bag ban, collecting signatures or taking other action to rally the community around the idea.

The council is now turning the project over to the SustainableBreck Business Task Force, a group of representatives from the business community, to engage the community and work out the specifics of a potential ban.

Bag bans or similar limitation measures have been enacted in communities all over the country, most notably in Los Angeles and closer to home in Aspen, Telluride, Carbondale and Basalt, according to a memo from Breck staffers.

Paper bags are still available in Aspen and Carbondale for a 20-cent fee.

Some research suggests the production of paper bags may use more energy than plastic, but they are also biodegradable and recyclable, according to the staff memo.

The task force will meet July 9 from 4-5 p.m. in the administration conference room at the Breckenridge Town Hall.

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