Sunday, September 12, 2010

the banning of bags

A town to the North, Telluride, Colorado has stepped up to banning plastic bags. One more town to jump on the progressive do-better ban-wagon.

At first council members in Telluride, Colorado thought that an approach to weening the community from plastic and paper bag use could begin by charging customers who use plastic and paper bags, yet came to the conclusion that they should- just ban the bags!

The idea or realization to ban bags began when Aspen, Colorado's Office for Resource Efficiency set a competition between the mountain towns of Telluride, Mountain Village and Aspen to see what community could cut its per capita consumption of plastic bags and encourage more community members to shop with reusable bags. Great initiative that took off and inspired the banning of bags totally- both plastic and paper.

It wasn't just about banning plastic, and not just paper too... “The whole point is that the consumer needs to understand the true cost of taking a bag,” said Councilmember Brian Werner, who asked if council has the ability to require retailers to charge a fee on paper bags." from the Telluride Watch

Banning bags at supermarkets and stores is not an easy thing for a city council to decide. There's a lot to consider when demanding community members have to pay for the use of bags. It's easy to assumer that everyone should just always have a reusable bag on them, but even as much as I try, it is hard to remember and walk into a store with a bag to use. As a council member of Telluride said: “We need an ordinance that makes sense, that is easy to work with, that has the support of a majority of the community and retailers, and that will work well with tourists andlocals."

I think starting with a small fee to use bags, that often are overused excessively, is a good place to start, yet accompanied with initiatives at the local level to educate consumers and provide creative and effective ways to encourage reusable bags- like an annual bag design competition to get community members and youth involved in using, supporting and advocating for reusable bags, as well as local artwork like they do in Frisco, Colorado with their annual contest and in Austin, Texas with 'Keep Austin Beautiful's' "design-a-bag" initiative.

If you are interested in hip and cool recycled material bags, great for the markets, visit my other website and Etsy shop.