Beginning Monday, July 1, all disposable plastic and paper checkout bags at grocery stores in Boulder will cost ten cents each. The bag fee does not apply to bags used inside stores for items such as produce, bulk food, or meat and fish, and does not apply to pharmacy prescriptions or newspapers.
“Boulder uses about thirty-three million disposable checkout bags each year, and sixty to seventy percent of these come from grocery stores,” said Jamie Harkins, City of Boulder business sustainability specialist. “This fee arose from community concerns about the negative environmental and economic impacts of disposable bags in Boulder. It’s about protecting our community and its resources by encouraging people to reuse.”
As part of the ordinance development process, consultant Tischler Bise conducted a study to determine the appropriate level and potential uses for the proposed fee. The city collected feedback from Boulder residents and businesses on the study results and used this feedback to inform the development of the Disposable Bag Fee ordinance passed by City Council in November, 2012.
Of the ten cents collected for each bag, four cents will go to retailers to defray their costs related to implementing the regulation. The remaining six cents will be remitted to the city for use on efforts that lessen the negative impacts of disposable bags in the Boulder community.
A portion of the future proceeds from the fee has already been used to purchase and distribute approximately 40,000 reusable bags to Boulder residents during the month of June. The city has worked to distribute bags to all populations at no cost, with an emphasis on mitigating the impact of the fee on low-income populations. In addition to partnering with numerous local organizations such as Eco-Cycle, Emergency Family Assistance Association (EFAA), Boulder Housing Partners, Downtown Boulder Inc., and Boulder County Community Services, the city canvassed door-to-door at more than a thousand household, and conducted bag giveaways at grocery stores, city recreation centers, libraries, and the Farmers’ Market.
For more information about free bag giveaway times and locations and to learn more about the Disposable Bag Fee, visit www.BroughtItBoulder.com or contact Jamie Harkins at 303-441-1846.