Avon styrofoam ban stalled as Donovan bill fails in committee
However, another bill, a statewide ban on the use of expanded polystyrene containers for prepared foods, is also under consideration
The Avon Town Council has unanimously passed an ordinance to ban Styrofoam containers for take-out food in town, but the bill that would make it effective was voted down by the Colorado General Assembly’s Local Government Committee.
On Tuesday, state Sens. Jeff Bridges and Joann Ginal voted in favor of SB 20-010, a “repeal on blastic regulation in local governments,” and Sens. Larry Crowder, Don Coram and Angela Williams voted against it.
The bill was sponsored by Sen. Kerry Donovan, of Vail, and also received support from Rep. Dylan Roberts, who lives in Avon.
Ban on bans
Ordinance No. 19-11 in Avon, which bans Styrofoam take-out food containers for prepared foods, is “conditioned upon the repeal of a Colorado Revised Statute 25-17-104 that prohibits local government regulation of plastics,” the town wrote in a press release issued Tuesday.
However, the town added, House Bill 20-1162, a statewide ban on the use of expanded polystyrene containers for prepared foods, is also under consideration by the Colorado legislature, which would make ordinance 19-11 unnecessary.
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Colorado Communities for Climate Action, which represents Avon, Vail and 30 other cities and counties across Colorado, supported SB 20-010.
“It’s a lost opportunity,” Jacob Smith, the organization’s executive director, told the Denver Post on Tuesday. “This is really important to our members that want local government to have the ability to make these decisions.”
A culture-war issue similar to the plastic straw debate, efforts to regulate plastic products are often decided along party lines, with Democrats in favor of legislation designed to reduce plastic use.
Williams, however, is a Democrat. In voting against SB 20-010, Williams told the Vail Daily she believes Colorado should have statewide uniformity in addressing problem plastic litter and single-use plastics.
“Keeping track of all 96 municipal ordinances while distributing various plastic products to thousands of retail locations would be problematic,” Williams said.
In a phone interview with the Vail Daily in January, Donovan — who represents Avon in the legislature — acknowledged that a statewide ban could also be an effective approach to rid communities of single-use Styrofoam containers.
“But I think when it comes to some of these ideas, some communities are ready to move forward, some communities aren’t,” Donovan said. “Some communities have a bit more affluent populations that can more easily adjust to some of these decisions, so I think this is the right pathway to allow communities to decide how they want to move forward when it comes to how they deal with materials in their communities and the environment.”
Williams also referenced House Bill 20-1162, a statewide prohibition of food establishments’ use of polystyrene, which was introduced on Jan. 21.
“While SB 20-010 did not pass out of committee, this effort has not been brought to a halt as there are other efforts to address this problem,” she said.