When word came out about the plastic bag ban in Aspen, Colorado, the price the city placed on paper bag substitutes was striking. Aspen officials instituted a charge of 20 cents on paper bags to encourage shoppers to use eco-friendly reusable shopping bags
instead. In many ways, that strategy has worked. Now, when shoppers don’t remember their bags, they have to pay the price. The city has already collected over $44,000 since the law’s implementation in mid-2012, money that helps the cause.
Should it be even more? Aspen officials have actually vowed to audit the biggest grocery stores in town to see if the amount collected shouldn’t be higher. Of course, many Aspen residents have already gotten used to bringing their reusable shopping bags with them on their daily routine. The money the city collects from the bag fees goes to public education plastic bag recycling and much more.
This idea made Aspen’s plastic bag ban come full circle. Instead of sending the money back into city coffers, it becomes a tool in the fight against pollution and outright waste while helping everyone understand why it’s necessary. Aspen, like so many other U.S. cities, has seen plastic bags take a toll on its environment for years. Now that city officials and storeowners are supplying wholesale reusable shopping bags for the public, the city is starting to turn over a new leaf.
Storeowners who stock their stores with reusable shopping bags can easily motivate customers to pick one up rather than continue paying for single-use paper bags. Storeowners would be wise to stock up on these bags because every time a customer carries one down the street, it has the effect of a billboard advertisement!
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