Denver City Council approves measure requiring fees for plastic, paper bags

DENVER — The Denver City Council voted Monday night in favor of a measure that will require customers to pay a fee for plastic and paper bags.

The Finance and Governance Committee approved the ordinance earlier this month.

“We’ve just gotten used to plastic bags and then throwing them away — only using them once. And it’s estimated that only one percent of them get recycled,” Councilwoman Kendra Black said in September.

Black says plastic grocery bags are not recyclable and can actually be detrimental to the recycling process.

“You can’t actually put them in a purple recycling bin in Denver,” Black said. “Or in a suburb, most of the trash haulers won’t take plastic bags. They actually end up damaging the machinery at recycling facilities. So a lot of them just end up as litter.”

In cities with similar ordinances already in place, bag fees generally range from 5 to 25 cents per bag.

Mayor Michael Hancock would need to approve the measure for it to become law.

According to Black, a similar proposal was introduced in 2013 but it did not pass.