Aspen will say goodbye to single-use plastic carry-out bags in the near future, and those plastic bag fees at the grocery stores are here to stay. The Aspen City Council unanimously adopted Ordinance 6 on second reading during its regular meeting, simultaneously adopting Colorado’s Plastic Pollution Reduction Act into the city code.

Ordinance 6 maintains the 20-cent fee on single-use carry-out bags in Aspen and paves the way for more waste reduction efforts in the future. The funds that the city collects are used for a variety of initiatives to benefit the community, such as an annual reusable bag giveaway for residents and visitors.

“The most recent iteration of these are actually up-cycled bags from banners that have hung around town for events and other items,” said Tessa Schreiner, the city’s sustainability manager.  The city also puts on an annual electronics waste drive using funds from the waste reduction fee.  “It’s a collection event for residents to drop off electronic waste, and annually we collect about a tractor-trailer full of e-waste at these events,” Schreiner said.  Going forward, the city will split the funds collected from the bag fees with stores and restaurants. The business will keep 4 cents and remit 16 cents to the city per bag sold.

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