Should Steamboat Springs require retailers to charge their customers a fee to use disposable plastic grocery bags?

Yes 358 votes


No 489 votes


Don't care 30 votes


877 total votes


Fred Duckels 5 years, 8 months ago

If we are worried about wasted resources the SST is the biggest bondoggle in town. Empty busses make plastic bags seem like a drop in the bucket. Surely we can figure a better way to move peak traffic without the huge waste of the off season.


Andy Kennedy 5 years, 8 months ago

  1. While paper isn't great bc it's expensive and made from trees, it not only biodegrades, it's compostable and reusable. Plastic is made from petroleum, therefore goes up in price when petroleum does, doesn't biodegrade, and is confusingly recyclable - it's only recyclable at the stores, not through Waste Management but winds up in WM bins bc of the recycle logo on it. Bottom line, we shouldn't be using EITHER. Charging or banning plastic doesn't mean people will use paper. It means they'll bring their own bags.

  2. Currently Yampa Valley Recyles and the Zero Waste Initiative are creating a powerpoint on this with pictures of -yes- bags blowing around town and our river, facts on what other resort cities are doing and how easy it is to monitor and share the funding. Please attend on 9/6 if you support!

Steps to keep this from truly impacting the retailers and visitors: 1. You can always get plastic bags from the outside recycling bin at City Market and Safeway if you forget them. 2. We can use this as a way for funding for Yampa valley Recycles and the Zero Waste Initiative. 3. Get green companies to sponsor bags for prop mgnt companies (PMCs) as additional advertising and show of support. 4. Encourage PMCs to spread the word in email to bring own bags if they need more than the one pmcs will provide. 5. PMCs can tack the 50c onto each room bill to help pay for bag when sponsors dwindle. 6. If visitors get a bag, what a nice steamboat takeaway to bring to their town and carry on this effort. 7. Make this optional for smaller retailers and help train their staff to simply ask. 8. A portion of the 20c can go back to retailer to pay for the tracking and payout on this. 9. This will continue to market Steamboat as a Green Town that the growing waves of Green Travelers will applaud. It's not all about appeasing the Triple Crown Gang, many of which are also Green Travelers. 10. Many other resort towns are doing this, and many more ideas can be borrowed from them.

Andy Kennedy, Zero Waste Initiative Thanks TV18 -


sledneck 5 years, 8 months ago

"Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat and swallow a camel."


Scott Wedel 5 years, 8 months ago

OMG, pictures of plastic bags that weren't thrown away. Irony of situation is that these bags are not in the trash because they were being reused and got loose. It appears that it is true that almost none are recycled and 76% (BBC) are reused because presumably most have a final use as a trash bag. Ireland bans the plastic shopping bags and the sales of plastic garbage shoots up.

How about we go around downtown and take pictures of all the cardboard boxes in all of the dumpsters? How many hundreds of cubic yards of cardboard is being thrown away every week? If the goal is zero waste then how about going after the substantial recyclable sources of garbage like cardboard. We could make throwing away cardboard illegal and charge $5 per pound of cardboard found in the trash.


James Earley, MCSE 5 years, 8 months ago

I'll pay your 20 cents a bag if half the money goes towards a genuine worthy cause, like feeding hungry Routt county children via Lift-Up Food Bank.

Just curious - what's the administrative overhead of YVR & ZWI?


Oshkoshgirl 5 years, 8 months ago

Maybe YVR could put some effort in getting the restaurants to recycle glass bottles. The amount of beer bottles put in the trash at every bar every night is unbelievable. Most bars do not have enough space to keep a recycle bin for glass, it is easier just to throw them in the trash can. If YVR is going to concentrate on going after the grocery stores over plastic bags, they will have to ban or charge for the plastic bags used for produce - at least more than one item goes in a plastic shopping bag. I am interested to know what YVR does with the money it earns for selling their shopping bags, one article said they have sold 12,000 bags at $1 a piece. Where does that $12,000 go? Maybe they should be giving shopping bags away, that would entice more people to take one and use it .


Phoebe Hackman 5 years, 8 months ago

I don't think YVR makes any profit on their shopping bags; they pretty much sell them at their cost. You're sure right about the glass bottles. Not only the beer bottles, but liquor bottles, wine bottles, syrup bottles from the coffee shops are all ending up in the trash and there's a ton of them. Does WM pick up recycling from businesses like they do residences? Even if they do, a lot of glass can pile up in a week, especially in a restaurant/bar. Some enterprising person with a truck could probably make a few extra bucks hauling glass to WM between regular pick ups.


Oshkoshgirl 5 years, 8 months ago

Sunpies has a glass recycling bin outside, but they are one of the few places that has space to keep an extra bin. Most places just have enough room behind the bar for one trash can. Maybe YVR could work with the restaurants, if YVR's true goal is Zero Waste, this should be priority #1.


Steve Lewis 5 years, 8 months ago

Google a picture of our trash in the Pacific. Disgusting.

Its time to do things differently. Past time. Thanks for your program's efforts, Andy.


Rob Douglas 5 years, 7 months ago

I Googled "steamboat springs trash pacific ocean picture" and got the following response: "No results found for "steamboat springs trash pacific ocean picture"." That is because there is no Steamboat trash in the Pacific Ocean or any other ocean. If Steve Lewis (or anyone else from Steamboat) is dumping his trash in the ocean - shame on him. The rest of us aren't.


Scott Wedel 5 years, 7 months ago

Oshkoshgirl, Yeah, recycling more glass would be good.

Though, it is my observation that business including restaurant dumpsters contain more cardboard than anything else. That is just a matter of finding a way to place cardboard recycling dumpsters downtown because most downtown businesses lack the space for another dumpster.


John Fielding 5 years, 7 months ago

. This whole issue ought to become an opportunity instead of a burden. If we work together we can create a solution that will gain us an improved sense of community and national recognition as an innovator in government/business/community service cooperation.

I propose that we try the positive incentive approach to change behaviors. Lets pay people to recycle, double your bag fee back when you return it, triple if you have used it multiple times.

Here is how it could work. We create are recyclable bag durable enough for a few uses, charge a small fee (a nickle?) when the bag is purchased, add a stamp each time it is reused, then refund the purchase price and a per use bonus when it is recycled.

We fund the program with advertising on the bag. (I will commit my store not only to become an advertiser but to offer a discount to anyone who redeems their bags there.) If we sell the ad space for a penny per bag, ($1000 per 100,000) for a sixth of a side that's 12 cents per bag, plus a penny or two more charge to the store that uses them, (competitive with paper for a lot more durable bag, but more than the nasty disposable bags.)

We select advertisements that are colorful, and offer added discounts to shoppers, but mainly that promote Steamboat as a resort town with a sustainability minded community that does not force you to do it their way,

The business sector benefits, the community service sector administers the program and retains the fees from bags that are kept as souvenirs (or thrown away by those who also waste their aluminum, paper and steel), and the government, if it is to be involved at all, issues a formal request to local retailers, (in lieu of an ordinance) that people who reuse bags not be charged for the "free" bags others require,not by an individual discount but by adding up the costs of purchase, handling and recycling of the disposable bags and a profit, then making that the price one must pay per bag.

In other words, all bags would have a cost, (not a fee) of say 1 or 2 cents for the one use plastic we are trying to reduce, 2 to 4 for paper that might be used twice, or 5 cents for a nice durable recyclable plastic bag that gives back a dime or more when it is returned.

Win, win, win.



Requires free registration

Posting comments requires a free account and verification.