Dillon approves plastic bag, Styrofoam ban on 1st reading
DILLON — Plastic bags are out in Dillon.
Dillon Town Council approved the first reading of an ordinance to ban plastic bags and Styrofoam containers during a regular session Tuesday evening. The move was expected following several council workshops in which an eventual ban had become a foregone conclusion. But the ordinance helps to iron out some of the details that remained in question, like how and when to implement the ban.
The code change kicks into effect Aug. 1, 2021, around the same time a recently approved plastic bag ban in Breckenridge would begin. Kerstin Anderson, Dillon’s marketing and communication’s director, said the timing wasn’t a coincidence.
“Dillon really wanted to be out front with this, but agreed with the other municipalities that it made sense to roll this out as a united front in our commitment to positively impact the environment,” Anderson said. “… People were really concerned about not putting an additional burden on anyone while we’re still in the midst of a pandemic. The council really wanted time to roll it out so that we’re not further impacting businesses and our residents.”
The ordinance bans disposable plastic bags provided to customers at the point of sale in retail establishments and markets, providing exemptions for prescription drug bags, produce bags, farmers markets and other special circumstances. The new law also would outlaw expanded polystyrene foam containers — like Styrofoam — from being handed out by restaurants.
Disposable paper bags are still allowed, and businesses will be given the option to charge an additional fee if they choose, as long as they run it by the town manager’s office and show the charge on receipts. But paper bags might soon be on the chopping block, as well.
“People have been able to adapt to this behavior change,” Anderson said. “We felt that it’s not the same ask that it once was for people to be accustomed to bringing their own recyclable bags and trying to reduce the amount of bags being used, obviously with the ultimate goal of moving away from single-use bags altogether. I think it’s a stepped approach that gets us toward zero waste.”
Silverthorne has largely dismissed the idea already, but Dillon and Breckenridge officials are hopeful Frisco will join them in their efforts. Frisco passed a 25-cent single-use bag fee last year, and officials are currently scheduled to discuss a possible plastic bag ban at the Frisco Town Council work session Dec. 8.
“Other mountain towns across the state, like Telluride and Aspen, have taken this step to ban plastic bags, and here in Summit, town councils in Breckenridge, Silverthorne and Dillon have either discussed or are about to discuss a plastic bag ban,” Frisco Town Manager Nancy Kerry said. “Frisco’s mayor and mayor pro tem work with the town manager on the agenda, so it reflects the council’s, and hence, community’s priorities. And as all of the surrounding communities are having this conversation, too, it seemed time to have it here in Frisco.”
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Breckenridge has been recognized as one of 88 cities that are leading in environmental action amid pandemic challenges.