Currently, Breckenridge allows plastic bags, but most stores are required to charge for them. Instituted in 2013, the disposal bag ordinance places a $0.10 fee on disposable plastic and paper bags and brings in around $40,000 – $60,000 per year alone. With the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in March, the town suspended the bag fee, but is planning on reinstating the bag fee soon.
“I don’t think the fee does anything. I haven’t liked it from the beginning. I think it’s, ‘Do we want plastic bags or not?’ I say we ban them. I say beginning in…July of 2021 or end of summer 2021 we ban plastic bags period. End of story. There is no fee, everybody moves to post-consumer, recyclable paper bags.”
– Eric Mamula, Mayor of Breckenridge
While the $0.10 fee imposed on disposable bags led to an initial decline in disposable bag usage, town council members want to take the next step towards banning plastic bags outright. Some members differ on the exact details of what a plastic bag detail would entail.
When should the ban start? What businesses (if any) will be exempt from the ban? Will paper bags still be available, or only reusable? Will a surcharge remain if paper bags are still allowed? Will reusable bags be provided for those who don’t have one/can’t afford one?
Breckenridge isn’t the only town in Colorado with a disposable bag ordinance program or thinking of banning plastic entirely. Just down the road, Frisco, CO has its own disposable bag ordinance and Dillon, CO is talking about banning plastic bags. Popular Colorado ski town destinations such as Aspen, Steamboat Springs, and Telluride all have banned plastic bags.
In the end, the town council decided to reimpose the plastic bag ordinance fee as of September 8, 2020 and indicated plastic bags would be banned by the end of next summer. More to come as exact details are worked out and implementation is solidified.