Aurora considers instituting fee for plastic grocery bags

The Aurora City Council is weighing whether to start charging shoppers 12 cents for every plastic bag, The Aurora Sentinel reports. The proposal, modeled on a state plan that fizzled in the legislature earlier this year, could cut down on trash and raise $2.6 million in its first year, city officials said.

Plastic bags accounted for roughly half the trash — about 3,000 pounds — collected at last year’s Great Highline Canal Cleanup, which covered an 11-mile stretch of the waterway that passes through the suburb east of Denver, the Sentinel reports.

Concerns about pollution led state lawmakers to propose an outright ban on the ubiquitous plastic shopping bags at larger retailers. Senate Bill 156 would have outlawed the bags in 2012 and charged a six-cent fee to shoppers before the ban took effect. The fee, split evenly between the state and retailers, would have seeded a fund to educate shoppers about the upcoming ban.

Shoppers across America use an estimated 100 billion of the flimsy bags ever year, 7News reports.

The Aurora proposal could double the fee the state considered, and could be set in place by an ordinance without going to a popular vote, as would be required for a tax increase.

A City Council committee had planned to discuss the plastic bag fee Wednesday but moved consideration ahead to its next meeting, set for July 15.

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