Lets Talk Plastic
Free plastic bags are too expensiveUnited States uses 100 billion plastic bags per year:= 12 million barrels of petroleum or 504 million gallons = $4 billion/year cost passed onto consumers
13 bags = petroleum to drive 1 milePlastic bags take 400 1,000 years to biodegradeLess than 10% of plastic bags are recycled
Wildlife and the EnvironmentAn estimated 100,000 marine mammals and up to 1 million sea birds die every year after ingesting or being tangled in plastic marine litter.Plastic bags travel: they float easily in the air and water. They have been found on the bottom of the ocean and the top of Mt. EverestThey are litter; clogging waterways and sewersThey contaminate compost and hinder recycling efforts
Days Litter Without Even Looking
What about paper bags?Customers are rarely asked Paper or Plastic anymore because paper is no better: High energy from production, use, and disposal as well as:High water, atmospheric emissionsHigh cost and solid waste
Paper uses 14 million trees annuallyPaper must be turned to pulp when recycled, creating cardboard, not more paper bagsPaper doesnt break down completely in landfills without light and oxygenNeither is Better!
Steamboats Green Bag History
1990: local activists and YVR produced 300 reusable bags2008 local activists approached YVR to energize bag program2008 2011: Routt County Commissioners granted YVR seed money for a self sustaining revolving fund to purchase and sell reusable shopping bags:To date, approx 8,000 bags sold at costLocal small retailersPromotions at large retailers, including:Thanksgiving Put Your Turkey in a BagChristmas Bag Your GiftsStart your New Year with a Green BagSaint Patrick Day Green Bags2009 Colorado Association of Ski Towns Bag ChallengeSteamboat finished 6th in per capita savings & 3rd in total bags savedSteamboat shoppers used 169,285 reusable bags from March August, 2009Bagit Movie March, 2011135 attendees asked YVR to bring the discussion to the next level
Success in Other Communities around the WorldWorld Wide Bag Bans:
1999 Corsica in large stores first island2002 Bangladesh all polyethylene bags first large country2003 Taiwan plastic plates, cups, cutlery 2003 Himachal Pradesh India manufacture, sale, and use of all plastic bags2003 South Africa all think plastic bags, retailers not in compliance fined $13,000US2003 Rwanda all polythene products2004 Papa New Guinea all plastic bags, retailers not in compliance face jail time2005 Delhi, Mumbai, Maharashtra, Sikkim, Goa, Keral and Karmatak States of India 2006 Tanzania all plastic bags2007 Taiwan all plastic bags2007 Kenya and Uganda all plastic bags2008 China all plastic bags production, sale and use of bags under .025mm thick2008 Buenos Aires all plastic bags, must be biodegradable by 20102009 South Australia all plastic bags2009 Bolivia all plastic bags2010 France all non biodegradable bags at all shops2010 Sioux Lookout, Ontario all plastic bags2010 Wood Buffalo, Alberta all single use bags2010 Manitoba all single use bags2010 Thompson Canada plastic bags2011 Italy all non biodegradable bags at all shops2011 Northern Territory Australia all plastic bags2011 New South Wales all plastic bags
US cities Bag Bans:
2007 San Francisco first US city - all plastic bags2008 Manhattan Beach CA all plastic bags2008 Malibu City CA all plastic bags, fine up to $10002009 North Carolina barrier islands plastic bags2009 Edmonds WA all plastic bags2009 Kauai and Maui HI all plastic bags2010 Los Angeles all single use plastic bags, replacing a 10c tax2011 Long Beach CA plastic bags2011 Calabasas CA plastic bags2011 Santa Monica CA plastic bags2011 Santa Clara CA plastic bags2011 Portland Oregon all plastic bags in stores larger than 10,000 sq ft2011 Maui HI all plastic bags2011 Telluride CO all plastic bags townwide within town limits2011 Westport CT all plastic bags2011 Brownville TX all plastic bags
Success at Home
Countries and Cities with Green Fees 2002 Ireland 2007 Belgium 2008 Israel 2010 Washington DC 2010 Mexico City 2010 Telluride CO 2011 Wales 2011 Bulgaria 2011 Brownsville TX 2011 Aspen CO 2011 Basalt CO
Best Case Study: Ireland In 2002 Ireland began charging 28cents US for plastic and paper bags.
This green fee reduced non reusable bag usage by 95%.
Now nearly everyone in Ireland supports their community and proudly carries a reusable bag.
The Green Fee is NOT a TaxGreen FeeDesigned to educateReduces the use of disposable bagsSimilar to Use Fees like:Fish Creek Falls parking feeRoutt County Landfill tipping feeDisposal fees for tires, car batteries, and motor oil TaxEffects everyone regardless of useIs harder to modifyLess choice/options
Carrots are good for you, but they dont reduce plastic bag useAs studies have shown, City Market and Safeway also found that their reusable bag credits proved ineffective.
What is effective:
Any fee placed on the bags must be large enough to influence consumer choices, while remaining politically acceptable. (ICF 2010)
Education, though not sufficient by itself, is a necessary component of any economic instrument aimed to reduce bag Consumption (Herrera 2008).
Fees that are directly passed onto consumers have been effective at altering behavior (Herrera et al 2008 133).
Carrot or a Stick?
Colorado Mountain TownsTelluride October, 2010 banned plastic bags + 10 cents per bag fee on permitted paper bags
AspenAugust, 2011, passed first reading for 20 cents per bag fee on all non reusable bags at grocers
Basalt August, 2011, passed first reading for 20 cents per bag fee on all non reusable bags at grocers
Carbondale September 2011, first reading is scheduled on ordinance for 20 cents per bag fee on all non reusable bags at grocers
Colorado Mountain Towns # 1 Goal: Support environment & reduce plastic
Aspens program funds local environmental programs including:
Programs and infrastructure to reduce waste and to recycleCommunity cleanup eventsEducation and public websiteReusable bags to residents and visitorsAdminister bag program, including 5% retained by stores, with a maximum of $100 monthly, $1,200 annually and $25 monthly thereafter
But, what about funds generated?
The Steamboat Way: Focus on communityOur environment is important to our locals, visitors and economy. We ski, hike, bike and shop green! How can we reduce plastic in our environment?
Bans arent Steamboat FriendlyRecognize the value of regional programs, and Steamboatize this idea
Begin with a trial program which can be reviewed modified, and managedConsider starting with all non reusable shopping bags at large, high use stores that sell groceries - focus on the goal of reducing plastic useThe stores have and will continue to be our bag partners, have participating stores retain 1-2c/bag without a maximum Let other stores opt in, at their discretionAny proposed fee should be meaningful towards reducing non reusable bag use: consider keeping it on par with regional discussions at 20cThe goal is to reduce plastic; but, what about the funds? Keep it similar to Routt Countys tipping fee, with funds targeted toward waste reduction, recycling and other environmental programsA bag program to purchase bags for low income residents and to offer reusable bags at a discountPublic information and store signage are also possibilities for a bag programContinue current green bag, recycling and zero waste efforts
Think Global - Act Local
Keep our Mountains Green and thank you for talking plastic!