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Time to tax plastic bags

Bob Moroney
Vail, CO, Colorado
newsroom@vaildaily.com

While I commend the success of the Colorado Association of Ski Towns’ Plastic Bag Challenge in creating awareness and putting a very small dent in our usage of plastic bags, we need to do more, and we need to speed up the inevitability of eliminating plastic bags in our county.

I won’t list the statistics regarding the harm to the environment, much less the visual blight they cause along our roads.

We need to follow the lead already established by many towns, cities and countries that have taxed plastic and/or paper bags to encourage consumers to use cloth bags.



Successful examples:

– Ireland in 2003 introduced a 22-cent tax, now 32 cents.

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– San Francisco in March 2008 banned plastic-bag usage, as has Palo Alto, Calif.

– Los Angeles is en route to phasing out plastic bags.

– Virginia legislators (not known for having a progressive environmental policy) are considering banning plastic bags, as are Boston; Portland, Ore.; Phoenix; and Annapolis, Md.



– Even Aspen is considering a fee.

High school students at Kent Denver championed a proposal to the Colorado Senate for a ban, which was recently defeated. They will do their homework and be back next year.

I propose our local taxing authorities (towns, county) explore a plastic- and paper-bag tax to encourage the use of cloth bags, and I challenge our elected officials to take action sooner rather than later.

Our social and environmental consciousness is experiencing a shift in perception, and we need to take a leadership role locally. The tax revenue generated could go to a fund for environmental issues, and local community members and school-age residents could decide how the revenue is spent.

We all know the success of taxes on tobacco, and we have legislated seat belt laws to protect us ” now we need to take action to change our behavior regarding plastic-bag usage.

Ask your kids what they think, talk to your neighbors, and contact our elected officials. Let’s get going, people; the time has come, and it’s up to us to take action and make a difference.

Bob Moroney

Vail


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