Thursday, July 30, 2020

Is a plastic bag fee the answer to cleaning up the Springs?

Posted By on Thu, Jul 30, 2020 at 10:05 AM

click to enlarge Many at the town hall supported putting a measure on the November ballot that would set a fee for single-use plastic bags. - BELEN STREHL / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
  • Belen Strehl /
  • Many at the town hall supported putting a measure on the November ballot that would set a fee for single-use plastic bags.
In a town hall meeting on July 29, focused on a ballot initiative of a single use plastic bag fee, all speakers agreed on one thing: Colorado Springs has a trash problem.

Yolanda Avila, Colorado Springs City Councilor from District 4, is proposing a $0.10 single-use plastic bag fee to help fix the problem. Forty percent of the funds would return to retail stores, and the remaining money would go to the city to fund trash cleanups. Individuals on government assistance would not pay the fee.

At least 13 other cities in Colorado have imposed this fee, from Denver to Crested Butte, and many large cities across the country have as well.

City Council will hold public comments for considering putting the fee on the November ballot this upcoming Tuesday, Aug. 4. If the council approves, city voters will vote on the fee during the election.

Most comments supported adding the fee issue to the ballot and many supported the fee itself, but a few community members felt that it increased government control and added another fee for Colorado citizens.

Wendy Martin, a military pilot of Fort Carson, says that the plastic bags impacted flight training when they stuck in plane rotors. Beyond that acute impact of the trash on the pilots, she says that the land looks “ragged” from plastic bags. A Colorado College student brought up that the trash is not just an issue when trying to maintain a shiny city image, but an “environmental racism” issue, as most of the trash collects in Southeast waterways.

Rosemary Lytle, the President of the NAACP Colorado Montana Wyoming State Conference, supports the initiative but is worried that not all people impacted by the fee, specifically those in lower-income communities, will be able to comment on the issue.

“We have a responsibility to do complete due diligence around the ballot issue,” she said.

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