COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) — Are you willing to pay a small fee for plastic bags while shopping in Colorado Springs to help support environmental programs in the city?
Colorado Springs City Councilor Yolanda Avila is asking for the public’s opinion on a potential ballot measure she hopes will go before voters on Nov. 3.
The measure would charge shoppers 10 cents per single-use plastic bag. There would not be a charge for paper bags. It's expected to raise $1.2 million if implemented.
Proceeds would be split between stores and the city, with 40% of the money made from the fee staying in stores. The other 60% would go to the city of Colorado Springs to be used for cleanup efforts and environmental education programs.
There are some exceptions inside the proposal. Shoppers who use state or federal food assistance programs would not have to pay the fee. Certain single-use plastic bags would still be allowed, like for produce, newspapers, or small jewelry items.
Some grocery chains in the U.S. have discouraged people from shopping with reusable bags since the coronavirus pandemic began, citing concern over germs.
“We are going to have this start in July 2021," Avila said. "It’ll be a whole year from now, things will look much different, and for the most part, COVID should be on its way out.”
The large majority of callers on Wednesday night's virtual town hall call agreed there is an urgent need for this measure. However, a few brought up concerns about government overreach and financial burden during the pandemic.
The proposal will go before city council again on Aug. 11. If you didn't have a chance to voice your opinion at the virtual town hall, you're encouraged to do so on the 11th.