DENVER (DP) - Denver soon could join a growing list of U.S. cities including Aspen and Boulder that have passed laws to reduce the ubiquitous presence of plastic bags that environmentalists say have become an ecological horror.
Plastic grocery bags, they say, have become a lingering sign of our disposable culture. They flap from trees, swirl around landfills and disable recycling machinery. They float in creeks, rivers and oceans, but environmentalists say the use of disposable bags can easily be reduced with restrictions and laws.
Denver City Councilwoman Debbie Ortega is drafting an ordinance that would impose a 5-cent fee for every plastic or paper bag used in point-of-sale purchases. Her ordinance would use some of the money for an education campaign to promote reusable bags and to provide reusable bags for low-income residents.
"Have you ever been to a landfill and seen the plastic bags everywhere?" Ortega said. "They are not great for the environment."
Groups, including Denver Public School students, have been lobbying the city for years to ban the bags. Ortega said she is still gathering comments before drafting a bill, which she said could be introduced within the next few months.