Frisco discusses single-use plastic policies ahead of Plastic Pollution Reduction Act requirements

Snow covers Main Street in Frisco on March 4, 2021. The Frisco Town Council discussed how to proceed with single-use plastics in town, and council members supported a "skip-the-stuff" policy that would require businesses to not hand out single-use items like plastic cutlery for takeout orders unless a customer specifically asks for it.
Liz Copan/For the Summit Daily News

As communities across the West work to reduce their impacts on climate change, the town of Frisco discussed potential options for reducing the use of single-use plastics, such as water bottles. 

In 2021, the Plastic Pollution Reduction Act was passed in Colorado, which bans the use of single-use plastic bags by retailers. Plastic bags are already banned in Frisco, but by 2024, the legislation will also ban polystyrene as a to-go container for certain restaurants, specifically larger businesses. If there is a small retail food establishment that only operates in Colorado and has less than three locations, the ban does not apply to them, environmental programs coordinator Hilary Sueoka said. 

Currently, the town already has some programs that help reduce the use of single-use plastics, such as the Frisco Water Bottle Pledge. Visitors sign a pledge in exchange for a reusable water bottle that they will use while they’re in town.

“We are small, but look at how many people come through here. And they, the impact we have is so much bigger than the 3,000 residents of Frisco,” Mayor Hunter Mortensen said. “The world comes here and sees what we have, what we hold as our priorities, which are our mountains and our rivers and our water. To not do something like this now — and I think ideally in my perfect world, we do have a ban on single-use plastic water bottles, particularly — when people come here and see you can only get aluminum and then realize how easy it is, they’re getting the same product and it has all the environmental benefits.”

Town Council members supported adding the requirement for businesses to skip giving out single-use plastic, such as plastic cutlery for takeout orders, unless a customer specifically asks for it. Earlier this year, Breckenridge Town Council heard a presentation from an aluminum water bottle company. Council members at that meeting were, in general, interested in the idea since visitors often buy cases of plastic water bottles while they stay in town. Frisco Town Council member Jessie Burley said that the same could probably be said of visitors in Frisco when they visit a grocery store like Safeway. 

Council member Elizabeth Skrzypczak-Adrian said that the council should take their time when it comes to implementing full-out bans on certain products to allow small businesses to adjust to new rules. She also said that adding an education component — for both visitors and community members — would be helpful as well. 

“I do think there are iterations of policy where we start with the big players who have the resources that can actually implement this,” Burley, who is also the sustainability manager for the town of Breckenridge, said. “If this is going to hurt small business, let’s look at how we can … incentivize those businesses to get across the finish line and really go after the ones that have the biggest impact.”

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