Eagle opts for education over legislation. Town board declines to jump on the plastic bag ban bandwagon | VailDaily.com

Eagle opts for education over legislation. Town board declines to jump on the plastic bag ban bandwagon

Eagle opted for education over legislation, politely declining to jump on the plastic bag ban bandwagon. Instead, the town will try to teach people that single use plastic is a bad idea, and to use something else.

EAGLE — Eagle's town board members said they want to reduce plastic bag use, but politely declined to pass a law to force it.

Instead, the town board decided to let the private sector take the lead, instead of legislating it, as Vail and Avon did.

"We clearly want to protect the environment. There is no greater microcosm than a small valley," Kevin Brubeck said.

Town board member Matt Solomon said he grew up in the grocery business.

“People don’t want to be forced to do something. They want to be able to choose for themselves.”Melissa KirrSustainability programs director, Walking Mountains Science Center

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"I am for environmental sustainability. I am against legislating a plastic bag ban," Solomon said.

Eagle resident Luke Causey said the opportunity lies in creativity. Local elementary students, for example, are partnering with a company that makes plastic decking.

"You can either legislate the problem away, or put Eagle squarely in the center of this creative problem solving," Causey said.

Legislatively banning plastic bags is "unnecessary," Causey said.

"It's like people who buy a Prius to save the world … the narrative can be misleading. It's what you would do instead of actually doing something," Causey said.

Bags already being eliminated

Kroger, City Market's parent company, will eliminate plastic bags from all of its stores in the next few years, Eagle City Market store manager Dave Betts said.

"Kroger is already doing this," Betts said.

Kroger was named Fortune Magazine's Change the World award winner. The company's goal is zero waste by 2025, Betts said.

In fact, the company's goal is to end hunger in its communities by 2025, Betts said.

Local proposal

Eagle resident Julie Richards proposed the bag ban idea to the town board a month and a half ago.

"The average single-use plastic bag is used for 12 minutes. We have not been around long enough to see one go away," Richards said.

After Avon banned plastic bags, tourists tended to be angrier than residents, Richards said.

Talking to Eagle business managers, Richards said one convenience store manager said it would be a disaster. But across the street, another convenience store manager said it was no big deal.

Melissa Kirr, Walking Mountains Science Center's sustainability programs director, said Walking Mountains is not on either side of the political plastic bag question. Like Eagle, they want what's best for the environment.

"It's great that they're taking a step toward eliminating any kind of waste," Kirr said.

It will require an increased push to convince people to abandon plastic bags, she said.

"People don't want to be forced to do something. They want to be able to choose for themselves," she said

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.