Safeway employee Jeff Dockstader bags groceries into plastic bags Friday afternoon. Yampa Valley Recycles is going to recommend to the Steamboat Springs City Council that a required fee be charged for disposable bags.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Safeway employee Jeff Dockstader bags groceries into plastic bags Friday afternoon. Yampa Valley Recycles is going to recommend to the Steamboat Springs City Council that a required fee be charged for disposable bags.

Bag fee proposal coming to Steamboat Springs

Yampa Valley Recycles to recommend that city requires fees for disposable bags

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Past Event

Steamboat Springs City Council meeting

  • Tuesday, September 6, 2011, 5 p.m.
  • Centennial Hall, 124 10th St., Steamboat Springs
  • All ages / Free

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Agenda highlights

5 p.m. Yampa Valley Recycles grocery bag fee proposal; joint meeting with the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association Board of Directors; and consideration of a second reading of an ordinance to adopt the Uniform Election Code of 1992 for the regular municipal election Nov. 1.

7 p.m. Public comment; consideration of Casey’s Pond senior citizen community final development plan; second reading of an ordinance to permit goats on small residential lots and an economic development update.

A variety of Colorado communities will soon consider ordinances that would require grocery stores to charge customers for using disposable plastic bags. Count Steamboat Springs among them.

Yampa Valley Recycles board of directors member Catherine Carson will present a proposal to the Steamboat Springs City Council on Sept. 6 that would impose a 20-cent fee on all disposable shopping bags, including paper and plastic, at large retailers. The definition of large retailer is yet to be determined. Carson said small retailers could choose to participate in the program.

Of the fee, 1 to 2 cents would go to the stores to cover processing fees, Carson said. She said the rest would fund Yampa Valley Recycles’ Keep Our Mountain Green reusable bag program, specifically to provide the bags to people who receive assistance from social service organizations and to provide education.

Carson said charging for the use of disposable bags was an extension of the reusable bag program. She said Yampa Valley Recycles has sold 12,000 bags for $1 each since the program began three years ago.

“They’ve been very well received but we feel we’ve reached the point now to take the next step,” she said. “Really what it is, is a step for zero waste. The community has been very supportive of the Zero Waste Initiative that the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council championed. Reducing plastic bags is one step to get waste out of our community.”

The Aspen Times reported last week that the Aspen City Council would consider a bag fee Aug. 22, while it will come before the Basalt Town Council and Carbondale Board of Trustees on Aug. 23.

Safeway spokeswoman Kris Staaf said she wasn’t familiar with Yampa Valley Recycles’ proposal from Steamboat but would like to be part of the decision-making process. She said the grocery store chain could share its experiences in other communities that have banned or imposed fees on bags.

“We don’t support efforts that ban plastic bans only,” Staaf said. “That moves people to paper bags, which is much more expensive. People think paper has to be better. They’re bulkier, they’re heavier and they don’t degrade that much faster than plastic.

“If a community is looking at placing a fee on bags, we would support a fee, if they’re going in that direction, on both,” she added. “It shouldn’t be one or the other.”

Staaf added that Safeway allows customers to recycle plastic bags.

City Council member Walt Magill, a council liaison to Yampa Valley Recycles, said he initially supported the proposal but has since changed his mind.

Steamboat doesn’t have a problem with plastic bags blowing around the city, Magill said. He said imposing a bag fee was an insignificant step until plastic wasn’t used to wrap food products or by smaller retailers and restaurants.

“I’m interested to see what Basalt and Aspen have,” Magill said. “We’re not getting a community call for this. And it’s going to be expensive for our guests and hard to monitor for our stores.”

Magill added that grocery bags were useful for household purposes. Carson acknowledged that many people use disposable plastic bags for purposes besides toting their groceries, but she said local stores sell biodegradable plastic bags that would be better.

She said disposable bags are costly, require a lot of oil to produce, don’t degrade and have been found “from the bottom of the ocean to the top of (Mount) Everest.”

City Council President Cari Hermacinski said she would have preferred the proposal to come from the stores.

“I’d like to see things happen because the marketplace creates it not because government requires it,” she said.

To reach Jack Weinstein, call 970-871-4203 or email jweinstein@SteamboatToday.com

Comments

1999 3 years, 4 months ago

as I read it....... we are being asked to pay for Yampa Valley Recycles reusable bag program so they can make more bags to sell?.

really?

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Brian Kotowski 3 years, 4 months ago

Your ignorant comments illustrate the need for this initiative - Nanny State knows best. The great unwashed are to be taxed & penalized in order to herd us like the cattle our betters have annointed themselves the custodians of.

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exduffer 3 years, 4 months ago

Yeah, we don't have a problem with plastic bags blowin' around the city. That is because they are filled with dog poop, lying just off the side of our favorite trails.

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rhys jones 3 years, 4 months ago

Any little chance to gouge us, they will use. I'm rather sick of Big Bother and his endless taxes and fees, will be most interested to see how our vaulted Council responds, individually. What a crock.

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rhys jones 3 years, 4 months ago

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^vaunted^^ (oops)

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 4 months ago

So do they plan on banning the plastic bags for fruits and vegetables? Are customers going to need to bring their own containers for everything they purchase? Do they plan on banning the plastic and cardboard containers for ice cream?

Yampa Valley Recycles has admirable goals, but going after plastic shopping bags is a high annoyance and low benefit move. Literally, a thousand times more trash could be recycled if there were a way for downtown businesses to recycle without having to add additional recycling dumpsters for each property. Downtown businesses are already tight on parking and space and simply lack the room for additional dumpsters.

If YVR could come up with a way to have shared recycling dumpsters downtown then the amount of additional material being recycled would be huge.

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sporty 3 years, 4 months ago

Like many other issues, this should go to the vote of the people.

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exduffer 3 years, 4 months ago

How about a $.50 shopping surcharge. You don't have to buy anything you just have to walk into a store to shop. The act of shopping consumes our precious natural resources, whether the fuel you use to get there by driving of the food you need to eat to get there by walking. This money could all go in to a fund to support things that do not impact our environment like, oh, um, let me think.... nothing.

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OnTheBusGus 3 years, 4 months ago

25% of the world's population lives in areas where plastic bags are banned or have fees. Here is the interesting article that info came from: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-plastic-bag-wars-20110725

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the_Lizard 3 years, 4 months ago

Here are other interesting articles. “We don’t see reducing the use of plastic bags as our biggest priority,” he said. “Of all the waste that goes to landfill, 20 per cent is household waste and 0.3 per cent is plastic bags.” John Lewis added that a scheme in Ireland had reduced plastic bag usage, but sales of bin liners had increased 400 per cent." http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article3508263.ece or "HDPE bags are, for each use, almost 200 times less damaging to the climate than cotton hold-alls favoured by environmentalists, and have less than one third of the Co2 emissions than paper bags which are given out by retailers such as Primark." http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/green-living/plastic-fantastic-carrier-bags-not-ecovillains-after-all-2220129.html

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Jeff_Kibler 3 years, 4 months ago

I prefer mtroach's common sense approach to this issue. Pasted from another thread:

"Can we boycott using plastic bags without the government being involved? I personally don't like all those bags, for many reasons, so I take my own cloth bags in to use. No regulation needed."

Well stated.

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 4 months ago

Well, I just went shopping and I count two plastic bags for bread, 3 plastic bags for cheese, couple of boxes that I'm pretty sure have plastic bags inside, a plastic milk container and since it was an unplanned trip, I didn't have the cloth shopping bags and so two plastic shopping bags. Which I will reuse for trash.

If I had to pay a 25 cent penalty for an unplanned shopping trip on the way home then I would not have gone to the store today.

When I was in France 20 years ago, I had to pay about 3 cents per plastic shopping bag. The charge was because the bags cost the stores something and government regulations prevented giveaways of anything as a business promotion. So no free tasting samples in the store and so on.

So anyway Safeway, City Market, Walmart and McDonalds are all free to charge for their packaging and bags. But the point is that it is a decision to be made by the business, not a punitive tax imposed by government used to fund collecting the punitive tax.

And while it may be relatively easy for Safeway to track the number of bags used and thus how much owned, it is more of a hassle for the smaller businesses. It will certainly cost Central Park Liquors more in administrative costs per bag than Walmart. It will be even more of a pain for FM Light.

So the large businesses with the money generally won't fight such a scheme because they know it gives them more of a competitive advantage over their competition for shopper's dollars.

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1999 3 years, 4 months ago

banned is a pretty strong word in my book. especially when it trys to fit a square peg into a round hole.

why not ban all plastic packaging...period....all of it?

plastic H20 bottles are far far far more of a landfill problem than plastic bags.

why are you not trying to ban those?

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bandmama 3 years, 4 months ago

so we would and could expect a discount for using fabric bags right? I think the same as what would be charged for asking for plastic. If this is really all about the enviornment give those of us that care to use fabric totes a break, right? Right? I think a dollar per bag would be much more fair incentive. And if I (we) do this than I dont want to hear anyone complain about doggie doo doo on the paths when plastic bags are no more. I for one wont be buying a speacial pooper scooper box of baggies. They are made of plasic also....

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 4 months ago

And we should ban food products with high fructose corn syrup or more than 30% of calories from fat or with packaging or genetically modified or picked with nonunion labor. So basically only fresh organic food should be sold.

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Phoebe Hackman 3 years, 4 months ago

And salt! Nearly 20,000 people die from hypertension each year in the United States. Ban salt AND plastic and all fast food joints would be out of business, not to mention most restaurants. And that would go a long way toward ending obesity, right? Spam, of course, would be exempt :-D

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bobnbobber 3 years, 4 months ago

If Steamboat is so into recycling, why is it so hard for the average household to recycle? Those that want to recycle around here have to make an extra effort as it is. If paying for plastic bags brings me curb side service then maybe it would be worth it....maybe i'd actually recycle. In the the meantime, I'll keep reusing my plastic bags for trash, dog pop, etc & I'll keep throwing away plastic bottles, packaging, cans, whatever. It's what i bring home in those bags that won't get recycled. Charge me or not, life goes on. Put it on the ballot, I'll vote no.

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exduffer 3 years, 4 months ago

You got it bobn. This is where they should be targeting their efforts.

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bigfatdog 3 years, 4 months ago

free markets. not free loaders. stop the inefficient entitlements before we citizens forget how to fend for ourselves.

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Bill Wallace 3 years, 4 months ago

I teach a graduate distance learning course (Green Engineering Design and Sustainability) for the University of Florida. As it so happens, my opening lecture is about disposable plastic bags and the dilemma they pose for communities. Worldwide, over 500 billion are used each year, the majority of which are not recycled. They have become "urban tumbleweed" littering the landscape, clogging drains, floating in the oceans, washing up on beaches or ending up in the bellies of wildlife. This is not a good thing. In fact the situation has gotten so bad that many towns, cities and certain countries have placed taxes on the use of certain plastic bags or banned their use altogether.

How are bans on plastic bags working? Not well. San Francisco banned the use of plastic bags and found that people weren't using reusable bags all that much. Moreover, they switched back to paper bags and started double-bagging their groceries. And, as this article points out, paper bags are bulkier, heavier and they don’t degrade that much faster than plastic. They also don't handle certain types of grocery items like certain perishables and drippy things in poor packaging. Hence the need for double bagging.

The question I ask my students is this: "Since when did the bagging issue become my problem?" This is a packaging and distribution problem created by the seller, i.e., Walmart, City Market, et al., and pushed onto the consumer, i.e., you and me. For a while there, our local choices were to: (1) collect plastic bags for recycling and try to find where the stores were hiding the recycling bins if they had them at all, or (2) spend money for and carry around a reusable bag boldly printed with the store's advertising. Nice to see that Yampa Valley Recycles sells bags for only a dollar and has a better advertising message.

Bottom line... It's gratifying to learn that Safeway spokeswoman Kris Staaf is willing to share Safeway's bagging experiences in other communities. Better that she and other store representatives admit that they are the cause of the problem and start working hard to find a workable solution that takes the burden off of their customers.

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 4 months ago

Bill Wallace, Well, I think I'd phrase the plastic bags issue to a class as a demonstration on the importance of PR. That something which represents 0.3 percentage of the waste stream becomes the face of recycling. At the same time public bags becomes a public affairs issues going out the front door that dumpsters full of cardboard may be going to the dump out the back door.

We are not a very efficient consumer society. Apparently 50% of food produced becomes garbage. Merchandise is regularly over packaged so it can be prominently displayed.

Much of recycling in this area is simply a PR promotion. The big green recycling dumpster that visit Oak Creek for a week and visits other places other weeks are not to be used by businesses. No, they are "reserved" for the public that spends the month saving up a few cardboard boxes to feel good about recycling their waste. Meanwhile, local businesses that could fill that in a day and dumpster could be emptied and refilled several times during the week. But the dirty little secret is that recycling up here has not been cost efficient due to the cost of hauling the cardboard back to Denver to be recycled. So the general plan is not to maximize recycling while allowing the public to feel about about recycling.

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Scott Glynn 3 years, 4 months ago

The proposal is counter-intuitive. Simply turn it around. Instead of $.25 charge to use a grocery bag, how about a $.15 credit if I bring my own reusable? That way I am not penalized for having to make that emergency stop for a loaf and gallon between soccer/hockey/lacrosse/basketball/parent teacher conference/ or god forbid work.

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1999 3 years, 4 months ago

scottglyn,,,wonderful idea and far more positive action oriented.

but darn it...YVR won't like the idea if they are not getting money.

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Phoebe Hackman 3 years, 4 months ago

scottglyn- I believe Safeway already does give a .10 credit if you use your own bag. Not sure about City Market.

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bandmama 3 years, 4 months ago

What about asking to have the carts made a little differently? I ALMOST would be willing to take a couple nice sized Rubber-made type of caontainers to the store and have all repacked after checkout. You can even use ice!

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Candice Martin 3 years, 4 months ago

I am amazed @ how willingly people will just give away what others have fought so dearly to gain. If one wants people to be policed on something so minor what other freedoms are they willing to relinquish in hopes of forcing others to do as they see fit. I feel people in general, if educated make the right choice on their own with out some one making a huge issue & taking away yet another choice!

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JustSomeJoe 3 years, 4 months ago

I'm calling BS on Cari's comment about the "marketplace" should propose a solution along with all the usual "nanny state oh my" commentators. Government is there as a regulator against good old greed. I'm sure most car repair shops and car dealers would make more money if they simply poured their waste fluids (oil, tranny, coolant, etc) into a hole in the ground in their backyard or a 55 gallon drum that someone could cart off to a field to be forgotten.

If you think a for couple minutes you can come up with a couple hundred more examples - not hard to think of a few more when you live 20 miles downwind of a coal burning plant. If the giant grocery conglomerates are squeezing the most into their margins with plastic bags then we aren't going to see them at the bargaining table without the government involved. It saddens me to see one of my elected representatives taking the side of a corporation over the good of the people. Oh, that's right, corporations are people too.

Gosh darn you government for getting in my way of making an extra dollar! If we could just live in the Ayn Rand utopia (also known as when Ronald Reagan was president) everything would be just fine in this country. The roads would magic repair themselves, wars would be fought with hordes of inexpensive robots and the entrepreneurs/true capitalists of this country could get on with the business of making America truly great again.

Plastic bags do represent a problem in our disposable lifestyle (See Bill Wallace's comments). Most people are upset because a dearth of plastic shopping bags will make more difficult to store their dog's excrement in a landfill for the next 100 years. Is there an argument from the "marketplace" that millions of inexpensive but pervasive plastic bags are good for business and the environment? Do profits and convenience trump a benefit for the great good?

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John Fielding 3 years, 4 months ago

. What exactly is the objective? Is it to prevent litter? Is it to create funding for recycling? Or is it to reduce the use of disposable plastic?

Any of these could be accomplished with a refundable deposit program, thus no one would pay for bags they returned. Those that were not returned would supply a revenue stream for the cost of the program. The amount of revenue would be far less, but something is better than nothing. And there would be a real incentive to pick up any bags out blowing around.

But government intervention is not necessary to create such a program, if the demand is there the marketers will respond. .

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jerry carlton 3 years, 4 months ago

Phoebe City Market and Safeway used to give $.05 per reuseable bag used. City Market now has a small sign by customer service desk that says due to increased costs they are no longer giving this credit. On 08/05/2011 Safeway gave me a $.01 credit for one reuseable bag.

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mtroach 3 years, 4 months ago

Increased costs that prevent giving a customer $0.05 for bring in a bag, that's as lame as a $0.01 credit.

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Bill Wallace 3 years, 4 months ago

To Scott Wedel and others, I agree with most of what you said. However, plastic bags create problems that are disproportionately larger than their small contribution to the waste stream volume suggests.

I too think that much of what Steamboat Springs does in the way of being "green" is for public relations. With its resort-based economy competing with other resort communities, Steamboat's efforts are reputation driven, designed to show visitors how much they value the environment. From what I've been told, this is an important resort selling point. But at the same time, the City, Yampa Valley Recycles, and other organizations have created an effective and noteworthy recycling program that helps people figure out what they can do to recycle their stuff: not only plastic bags and cardboard, but electronics, clothing, construction materials, etc.

Still, all of these efforts are severely hampered by the fact that virtually none of the products and the associated packaging you and I buy were designed to be recycled or reused, hence the difficulty in having market forces do the work to address this problem. If something is designed to have no value at its end of use, then it gets dumped into the waste stream.

A lot of people who are a heck of a lot smarter than I am have thought about this broader design issue. Bill McDonough's book, "Cradle to Cradle" takes a new and innovative look at recycling and reuse. See http://www.mcdonough.com/cradle_to_cradle.htm. For an important big picture view, read Garrett Hardin's 1968 essay, "The Tragedy of the Commons", available at http://www.garretthardinsociety.org/articles/art_tragedy_of_the_commons.html. For a fun look at the issue, watch Annie Leonard's video, "The Story of Stuff" at http://www.storyofstuff.com/.

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sledneck 3 years, 4 months ago

Justsomejoe, It is a good thing that "government is there as a regulator against good old greed."

After all, government is not susceptible to greed because it's not made up of fallible, dishonest, corrupt humans. No sir! Only evil corporations are susceptible to corruption, bribery, kickbacks, fraud, waste, etc. You would have the most corrupt, inept, wasteful and idiotic group of scoundrels the world has ever seen "govern" us like a herd of cattle because you hate the free market sooooo much? And do not tell me you are all about the "good of the people". The poll on this subject is made up of "people" and they don't want this, Joe... get it? "THE PEOPLE" don't want this so lay-off, k?

"It may be better to live under robber-barrons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber-barrons cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satisfied; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."

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JustSomeJoe 3 years, 4 months ago

hey sledneck - since when did you speak for all people? Excuse me, THE PEOPLE? you lay off brother.

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sledneck 3 years, 4 months ago

I was refferring to a poll on this forum, dude. Check it out. Its running 7 to 3 against the bag nazis. I don't presume to speak for the people. It's your ilk that wants to control what kind of bags OTHER PEOPLE use... and every damn thing else other people do.

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rhys jones 3 years, 4 months ago

I was just reefering to a poll too. Oh sorry, wrong forum.

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bandmama 3 years, 4 months ago

Something to think about.Safeway managers this is addressed to you... I am terrible about forgetting my fabric bags. Work six days a week and when I glean the chance to shop I do. BUT, I appreciate every plastic bag I get and they are reused in every way I can. From little garbage bags to the dog, to sometimes ( if you wad them up they are terrific scuby pads when used with a cloth towel to clean the bathroom and kitchen) cleaning projects in the home, use of them instead of lunchboxes to hold the tupperware I use to pack a lunch) I shop at Safeway for groceries and spend a reasonably decent amount of my income there. I went to the Chamber Mixer this evening and was the recipient of several GREAT totes. Went to Safeway to shop for my family of three for the next three weeks. For the first time EVER, somebody was there to bag my groceries. (which I usually end up doing myself, not ONE fruit, loaf of bread or veggie...or anything was squashed into a bag.) BOTH the cashier and AND the bag boy who just suddenly appeared took the UTMOST care in bagging my groceries. I was impressed for about 14 and a half seconds before I looked around and saw that anyone with cloth bags was being treated with kid gloves. WTH????
Been shopping there for ten years. Might have to change stores based on the OVERload of "service" I got this evening. Best part was when I was handed my rec'pt by the same little cur who has been checking my groceries for at least three yrs, he actually had the gall to ask how my last name was pronounced. ONLY because I had cloth bags? DUM dum dUUUUmB. (and please let me point out that I DO always have the plastic bags in my car for some odd whaterer reason and ask they they be resued when I shop and ALWAYS come home with at least one broken egg or a smashed loaf of bread on the few times some employee is there to bag my crap)

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howard_roark 3 years, 4 months ago

This whole idea (the original idea from the article) is such a joke to begin with. You are trying to tell me that there are so many people in the community that want reusable bags, but cannot afford $5 for a set. Give me a break! This entire plan is so misguided.

I do understand charging for plastic/paper bags. If the users of disposable were charged a reasonable amount ($.05-.10) that could eliminate some overhead costs built into my groceries.

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bandmama 3 years, 4 months ago

howard- I agree. What I save for the "right sized" trash bags for the smaller (ie;bathroom etc...) bins, and on scrubby things and bags to use for lunches or what ever use I find with them more than off sets the .05 cent to .10 percent charge, and yes we all really do need to do all we can to make less waste. But why should I buy a product that I have a pretty darn good substitute that I get for "free"? While spending money already? The economy is not quite my friend right now and why should I have to buy perfumed, pink (or whatever color) little commercial bags for my bathroom waste when I get a better quality bag for buying.....oh say meat, cheese, veggies, fruit??? AND btw.....THOSE bags are put to use in my home! To do away with these horrible plastic bags is not a good thing for me. I am more than happy to do my part for the enviornment, but come on, we all know that a good beef steak bought in the clearance rack freezes and keeps much better in Zip-lock but the trash can go out to the curve in a Safeway bag any day. I still save $, and recycle. AND btw...those freezer bags wash/sanitize just fine in the top rack of the dishwasher. Run only when fully loaded and with a "kind" soap. Of course....lol!

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sledneck 3 years, 4 months ago

The store already charges for plastic bags. Just like it already charges for the lighting in the store, the pavement in the parking lot, the shopping carts, etc. All that is built into the price of the products we buy there. What this is, among other things, is an attempt by a 3rd party (or several) to latch on to safeway and its customers... kind of like a tick latches onto a dog.

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JustSomeJoe 3 years, 4 months ago

Oh sledneck, my apologies, the poll in the online newspaper, the one statistically representative of the people that vote in online newspaper polls. my bad, that's what you meant by THE PEOPLE. I forgot we had such a profound measure of public sentiment available to you and your arguments.

Let's get real. You are for all government unless it furthers your aims, say paving/grading a larger parking lot at Dry Lake so you have room for your trailer in the winter. You are are right behind that sort of government intervention as I recall.

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sledneck 3 years, 4 months ago

Mr Joe, The local snowmobile club offered to expand the Dry Lake parking lot with private funds... PRIVATE FUNDS, sir. The local snowmobile club designed, built and funded the last parking lot ever built on Rabbit Ears Pass (Muddy Creek) with private funds over 15 years ago. PRIVATE FUNDS, sir. Go down to the USFS and check that FACT out, sir. Hence, you know absolutely NOTHING about what you seem to be insinuating.

I do not need a larger parking lot for ME. I always find a spot. Ahhh, therein lies our misunderstanding of one another. As a libertarian I support smaller government, lower taxes and fewer laws; NOT FOR MY OWN benefit, sir, but for the benefit of the nation. Leftists rarely understand this because they, so often, vote THEIR OWN PERSONAL interests. THAT, sir, is what has this nation all f****d up today.

And, by the way... the "profound measure of public sentiment" is available to YOU and YOUR arguments as well. However, it does not prove you right. Therefore, you dismiss the poll as somehow biased, slanted or otherwise useless. That is tactic quite common of leftists: If you can't argue the facts, dismiss them as comming from radical, biased or uinreliable sources. Got to hand it to ya, that was a textbook move; making an online poll sound like it favors "people that vote in online newspaper polls". After all, what kind of rabble are they???

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Bill Wallace 3 years, 4 months ago

YVB, I see the "greening" efforts of the YVR, Ski Corp, the City, et al. as well-meaning but basically "feel good" efforts designed to communicate to their respective customers and constituents that something positive is being done and their concerns are being met. The question of whether what is being done is meaningful for addressing the consequences to our community resulting from a non-sustainable model for economic development is not discussed.

I was a member of the original Green Team formed in 2005 following a seminar by James McNeill on climate change. What started as a high level look at the issues surrounding sustainability eventually morphed into the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council (YVSC), an organization that takes a local (and perhaps more practical) look at what people want and can do in the short term regarding these matters.

YVSC programs like "Talking Green" and "Zero Waste" are useful but, in my view, do not address the sustainability-related issues that Steamboat Springs and Routt County are facing today. What happens to our local economy if the cost of fuel jumps by, say, 50%? What are the projected effects of global climate change on this area, and what are our adaptation choices? These and many other related issues are what we should be addressing, especially with a couple of County Commissioners that treat community values as an annoyance and a City Council that never met a developer it didn't like.

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JustSomeJoe 3 years, 4 months ago

Sled - you and I have been debating the parking lot at dry lake for a couple years now. Changing your tune now does no good. Take a look at your previous posts on the issue. Nothing in your comments about private funds, just a lot of yapping at the forest service to take "your" tax dollars and do something about the parking lot. That was you throwing your personal interests into the the debate, not the interests of the country, despite your libertarian protestations.

My point about the poll still stands. Your claim is the poll is representative of "THE PEOPLE". I call that hog wash. Have you ever taken a course on statistics or polling or anything mentioning the scientific method? The population of an online poll on www.steamboattoday.com is simply defined by the number of people that read this paper online AND are willing to vote in the poll. Voting at home and work or multiple computers is not prohibited, so the sample size of the poll is even likely smaller and more skewed (check out Occam's Razor while you are at it). For you to extrapolate the results of steamboattoday.com polls to will of THE PEOPLE is laughable.

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canyonwind 3 years, 4 months ago

I don't know what angers me more, the thought of a out of state College Prof trying to tell me its good to give $0.20 to Big Brother for each plastic bag or a city council that thinks it is a issue at all. These are the same dumb a$$ people that think we still buy their Global Warming Scam. Remember last winter -45 or colder in Feb and many a morning -20 or colder last winter or how about those Blizards in the South Pacific last week. The city of Christchurch New Zealand was shutdown for a few days because their snowplows just could not keep up. They got over 8 years worth of snow in just 1 storm. We have over 15% real unemployment and the council wants to talk plastic bags. Gas is still over $3.00 a gallon, Food in these stores is a good 20% more now than it was a year ago. We have a President that thinks you can spend 4 trillion a year while only bringing in 2.3 trillion a year and a congress that thinks the same. And the sheepish public that has no idea what gos on in DC.
In short the reason they will charge 20 cents a bag is because the council thinks you are a bunch of stupid fools and that they can get away with it. This is not a left right issue or a green issue but a issue ment to divide us so they can conquer our wallets. Divide and Conquer that is how our government plays us from big cities to small hick towns, the only thing that differs is how they deliver the message.

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1999 3 years, 4 months ago

i'm hoping that a fee on disposable diapers is the next step. a big fee. maybe a dollar a diaper!!!!

also we should ban all plastic packaging.

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1999 3 years, 4 months ago

the white roof thing makes sense.

it's odd to me that not every house in colorado has solar.

that is what is nuts.

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exduffer 3 years, 4 months ago

Make sure the charge is double on your 'Depends' 1999, you should be able to afford it.

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canyonwind 3 years, 4 months ago

http://www.storesupply.com/c-654-thank-you-bags.aspx

Here is a link where you can buy 1000 plastic bags for 17.99, thats 2 cents a bag and a good way to tell the fascist at City Hall to go to Hell. Plus you can't find 1000 trash bags for $18.00 anywhere. Now thats what I call " Talking Green"

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Bill Dalzell 3 years, 4 months ago

Hey 1999, maybe we can just train kids to be 100% effecient, cuz the environmental impact of cleaning non disposable diapers isn't that great either. Or maybe you can open a diaper service, rather than just constantly complaining.

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sledneck 3 years, 4 months ago

Joe, You are right. I do feel that the USFS should take some of my/ our tax dollars and improve the Dry Lake parking lot. I also know they never will because they use parking lot size and location to manipulate forest use, something I believe to be unlawfull.

What I said was true. The snowmobile club paid for the last parking lot built on Rabbit Ears. And I don't see any non-motorized advocates ponying up tens of thousands for that sort of stuff.

I understand what you mean about polling. No, I have no college degree in polling. What you say makes sense, polling-wise. However, that IS the poll and that IS what I was talking about. I believe the poll does reflect the community sentiment that the majority of people do think bag fees are preposterous. I think deep down in your heart you know this to be true as well. I am also ammused by the cycling poll. How 'bout you??

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1999 3 years, 4 months ago

YVB..I do have an idea how much it would be to redo every roof. my statement was just that I can't believe there is not more solar in colorado.

where on earth did I say to redo every roof?

billy d...I said the diaper thing in jest. though if we are banning things we should ban everything harmful right? maybe make everyone who uses disposable diapers pay a 50cent fee for every diaper. this money could go to buying biodigradable diapers that YVR can sell.

that makes sense right? .

i really don't want to open a diaper service though both of my kids used cloth. billyd..hey but thanks for the great business ideas!!!! you really are a gem

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1999 3 years, 4 months ago

oh and YVB...snow on a roof is an excellent insulator as long as the roof is built well and doesn't leak..

no need to shovel.

code around here says a roof should be bulit to handle a certain snow load...at the right pitch and strength there would be no reason to shovel a roof.

thats why good architechs make the big bucks.

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 4 months ago

Snow does not melt any faster because the material underneath is dark vs white. The snow does not "know" it is on top of a dark roof and thus think that it should melt faster.

A dark roof probably melts a light dusting faster than a white roof, but then it hardly matter how fast the last inch of snow melts off the roof.

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John St Pierre 3 years, 4 months ago

If we're going after plastic bags it should be all plastic bags... the hotels here in town use more plastic trash bags then safeway and City Market combined!!!!!!!!!! A vist to the dump will illustrate that easily....

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sledneck 3 years, 4 months ago

We are reaching that Orwellian point at which "That which is not forbidden, is cumpulsory".

Just two columns, Things you must do and Things you may not do. Nothing in between that one might "opt" to do or to not do. No, that would be too much thinking for the dumb-masses. Too much freedom. They might eat bad food, spend time unwisely, use too much gas or electricity or plastic. They may choose to smoke or drink an "un-approved" substance. They might teach their kids about God or sex or freedom. Nope, can't have that. The almighty state will decide all for us; starting with plastic bag use..

I wonder... When the state is done controlling everything us dumb-masses do where will they turn their attention? Does anyone think they will be allowed to waste their time racing bicycles? Back country skiing? Nope, all the "big state" crowd is gonna find out that when they're done outlawing my snowmobile, fatty foods, beer and plastic bags that same state which you fools supported will be comming for your bikes and skis and snowshoes. And I am gonna laugh like I never laughed before.

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Candice Martin 3 years, 4 months ago

Amen! Preach it Sled neck......Could not agree more. I guess I like your comment more than my earlier one because you can call a dumb-ass a dumb-ass :)

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 4 months ago

YVB, When the roof is covered by snow then it does not matter whether the roof is light or dark because solar heating does not penetrate much into snow. 99% of solar heating is absorbed or reflected in the first inch of the snow pack.

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 4 months ago

So there we have it. Sledneck's ideal activity is snowmobiling while carrying fatty foods and beer in plastic bags while laughing at the fools on bikes, skis and snowshoes.

I note that despite the existence of plastic bags and fatty foods in SB that the super fit bike racers were able to race in and out of town without undue problems.

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