Boulder Reinstates User Fees For Disposable Bags

Boulder grocery stores will again charge customers for disposable bags, reinstating the 10-cent fee that was suspended in March over fears that reusable bags could spread the coronavirus.

City officials recently received advice from Boulder County Public Health that there was a low risk of spreading COVID-19 through reusable bags, spokesman Alexis Bullen said. The change is effective Wednesday.

Public Health spokeswoman Chana Goussetis cited the Food and Drug Administration’s guidelines on grocery shopping, which say shoppers who use reusable bags must clean or wash them after each use.

Bullen said the city has no plans to suspend bag fees in the future unless public health guidelines change.

Boulder City Council members passed the bag tax in 2012, and it came into effect in 2013. Since then, the city has reduced its use of disposable bags by 70% and has generated $ 1 million in funding. for programs that reduce waste associated with disposable bags, according to Clean Environment Partners.

“PACE supports the reduction of single-use plastic waste and is happy that bringing your own bags to a store is very low risk,” Zac Swank, corporate sustainability coordinator for PACE, said in an email.

Boulder House Speaker John Tayer said the House supports adherence to public health guidelines and the fee suspension was appropriate at the time.

“Our role throughout the COVID-19 crisis has been to be a vehicle for safe business practices for companies,” Tayer said. “We want to make sure they are aware of this change, which is a mechanism to support environmental sustainability that our businesses have learned to adapt. We support progression in accordance with public health guidelines. “


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Ethel J. Montes

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