Durango contributes much to Colorado’s national leadership on sustainability issues. From Durango’s Green Power Partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency to major efforts in water conservation, the city has a dynamic and holistic approach to sustaining the environment. It is no surprise then that Durango has begun discussing how to responsibly manage plastic bags at the end of their life cycle.
As the policy chairman of the American Progressive Bag Alliance, I can assure you that the plastic-bag manufacturing and recycling industry appreciates and shares your concerns. Plastic bags may only represent less than one half of 1 percent of municipal waste, but we feel a special responsibility to ensure that our product remains environmentally friendly. That’s why we’ve invested millions of dollars to develop things like our Bag-2-Bag technology, which allows us to turn used plastic bags into new bags and, in the process, substantially reduce the need for virgin material.
The 10-cent fee on plastic bags that some on Durango’s City Council are pushing ignores the best solution, locally and beyond – education and partnership to expand the existing store take-back recycling programs. Instead of hitting local consumers with an added cost in the checkout line, encouraging plastic-bag recycling after use can alleviate concerns of litter, save shoppers money in the grocery store and bolster Durango’s local recycling infrastructure by encouraging more returns and thus more material for recycling.
Durango residents should make the right choice for the environment and their own community and reject a fee on their grocery bags.