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Colorado Springs City Council considers adding ten-cent charge to plastic store bags

Boulder and several other cities in Colorado have added a fee to plastic bags given to store customers, and now the Colorado Springs City Council is discussing the possibility.

During a day-long work session Monday, Councilwoman Yolanda Avila presented a proposal to charge customers ten cents per plastic bag.

"We've got to get them out of our environment," she said. "They're polluting our waterways, walkways and parks. The average person uses a plastic bag for 12 minutes before throwing it away. This is the Olympic City. We have to take better care of it."

Avila said with a 75% compliance for such an ordinance, the city could collect $1 million in annual revenue that would be used to increase the level of litter pickup and provide free reusable bags to customers.

Dee Cunningham, executive director of Keep Colorado Springs Beautiful, said her litter control team has collected nearly 12,000 plastic bags -- just from homeless camps and trails -- within the past year.

"We don't slow down no matter what," she told the council.

Avila said she hopes the council will vote to put the fee question to voters on the November ballot.

"I want to take advantage of this being a presidential election because that's when most people go to the polls," she said.

The council was generally supportive of the fee idea but expressed some concerns.

"I think it's more an issue of litter control than plastic bags," said Councilman Andy Pico. "I agree that getting plastic out of the environment is needed, but I'm not sure how many plastic bags are in the litter we have."

Councilman David Geislinger said he'd rather have the council and Mayor John Suthers decide the matter.

"That's what we were elected for," he said. "We also need to hear from the grocery stores, other retailers and the county health department because there's some thought that it's safer to use disposable bags during a pandemic."

Avila got enough council support Monday to continue discussing the matter at a work session next month.

Kroger, the parent company of King Soopers and City Market stores in Colorado, announced in 2018 that it would phase out plastic bags by 2025. But the slow rate of change has led some stores to add their own fees, or reduce the amount of plastic bags used.

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Scott Harrison

Scott is a reporter for KRDO. Learn more about Scott here.



  1. Mandate paper bags then, which people already prefer. Sadly, those will be taxed at 20 cents per bag.

  2. Fine I will just go to the county and not have to pay first sales tax or their stupid bag tax. This is super stupid now that you can’t bring your own bags due to covid. Tax the businesses.

  3. what about people who use SNAP?
    They obviously aren’t overflowing with cash to buy bags.

    1. It’s not their money they are spending? Why should they care?
      It is like the stores that except SNAP and whatever, a can of soup is $2 and more than half that everywhere else!!
      Food stamp pricing. People don’t care about the cost when they are not spending their money.

      1. duh, all major grocery stores accept SNAP.
        Walmart King Sooper etc
        Your ignorance is showing.BADLY.
        Go read the income qualifications to receive SNAP.

        1. I wouldn’t be proud of being an expert on the SNAP program. I would focus on working smarter and harder.

          1. It’s slightly harder to do with stage 4 cancer and chemo every month.
            Not everyone’s circumstances are that simple.
            But they can just use the portable scanner and just scan everything in my basket-no bags necessary. I have boxes in my trunk.and large amount of plastic bags I saved.
            Sav-A-Lot and Costco already do this.

  4. I stopped using my reusable bags when this pandemic hit. This is definitely the wrong time for this. Wait until the pandemic is over.

    1. As far as they are concerned this is a GREAT time to put a tax on the bags, revenue is revenue. Banning those bags causes people to have to buy, use and dispose of more plastic bags, doesn’t really fix the bag problem in the long run.

    1. That’s right so they pass a rule to tax people while they have little to no choice but to pay the fee. Turkeys.

  5. It is not the homeless camps and lowlifes who litter that are the problem it is the bags.
    How do these clowns get elected? They never tackle the real problems they just make life miserable for people so they do t have to do the hard work they were elected to do. CA charges for bags and they are thicker and made of more plastic then 10 regular bags!!!!!
    They don’t care about needles and homeless camps that pollute more than plastic bags. Do we really need to follow along with the other stupid states and cities implementing this.
    What about those poor folks who have to ride the buss or walk with grocery bags? Keep them poor by taxing them. Way to go City Council…you have made another problem that needs fixing.

    1. Average Joe and Joanne really need another tax to go along with their two kids, rent, car payment, insurance, and $25,000 a year income.

      Palmer and Stratton would be rolling in their graves.

  6. Can’t beat the timing huh? Stores only allow you to bring in reusable bags if YOU pack your own groceries during this covid thing. If I was being paid to do a store clerk’s job I might not mind.

  7. Crazy. I use my plastic bag as a mask at the grocery store. Now what am I supposed to do?

  8. “We’ve got to get them out of our environment,” she said. “They’re polluting our waterways, walkways and parks.”

    Yes. Getting the homeless solved will help.

    I have no interest in paying a tax; for a bunch of idiots that can not even use a trash can. It is not like they will not be going near a trash can at the SRM, MH, quickie-shop, or liquor store.

    They are polluting our city. If we keep on enabling them; there will be more every year.

  9. Avila is ok with RVs parking all over the city and dumping their sewage tanks into the nearest street drain but the plastic bags have to go.

  10. This is what is being discussed at these meetings? Really? Yolanda says this doesnt need need to goto a vote. When the gubment says it doesnt need a vote, it needs a vote.

    Also, anybody do research on reusable bags? Does anyone know the average amount of times you have to use a reusable bag to equal the
    impact of a disposable plastic bag?

    Plus, this city belongs to the Olympic committee? B.S, these people do nothing for this city but soap money from us for their museums and other crap. Every encounter I’ve had with anyone representing the ‘Olympic committee’ have been condescending, over privileged assholes.
    Thanks everybody for letting me vent 🙂

  11. The article doesn’t state how much tax payer money was spent on research to come up with 12 minutes!

  12. Hmmm. I use those bags to pick up and dispose of dog poop when I walk my dogs. If they are going to be 10 cents a piece I’ll have to buy plastic bags for dog poo…

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