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How to Bag It!

2011 October 25

By Joshua Brown

Millions of single-use bags are used in Boulder, Colorado each year. The Fairview Net Zero Environmental Club has a goal: reduce the use of single-use shopping bags in Boulder. We are working with the City Council to pass an ordinance to put a fee or a ban on single-use shopping bags.

While the City Council has the ultimate decision, more than two thousand Boulder citizens have signed petitions to reduce the consumption of single-use shopping bags in Boulder. Several months ago, we asked the City Council to have staff look into the issue. After that success, we went back to the City Council and requested that the issue be addressed in the city’s five year update of the Master Plan for Waste Reduction.

To increase our effectiveness, we formed alliances with New ERA Colorado, Boulder High Net Zero and Summit Net Zero. We speak about the issue at City Council meetings twice a month addressing different concerns and giving information on the negative impacts of paper and plastic single use bags. We have been told the issue will be addressed in the five year plan so now we are asking City Council to put the issue top of the 2012 agenda at the City Council retreat in January.

We are also raising awareness in the community. The Fairview Net Zero and Summit Net Zero Clubs, and New ERA had a booth and brought the issue to the well-attended Boulder Creekfest and collected petition signatures. We also have written letters to the editor of our local paper.

Our efforts have not gone unnoticed. An article in the local paper about us was picked up and published throughout the country and a Denver news station, 9News, did a story on our club’s efforts. We have gained more and more supporters. Keep an eye on Boulder and don’t be surprised if you see an ordinance with fee or ban on single-use bags go into effect in Boulder in 2012!

UPDATE: The City of Boulder included 10 pages in the Master Plan for Waste Reduction about putting bans or fees on plastic and paper bags! This was a direct result of the students’efforts. It should lead to an ordinance reducing the use of single use bags in the near future. What an outstanding accomplishment for these students!

About the author: Josh is a senior at Fairview High School. He is active in the Net Zero Environmental Club and is a link leader helping freshmen adjust to high school. Josh is also active in the local Jewish youth organization where he is vice president. He owns his own lawn service company. He plans to study Arts and Humanities in college.

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Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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2 Responses leave one →
  1. Valerie J. Amor permalink
    October 25, 2011

    Currently, we have a Florida State Statue that does not allow individual municipalities from passing an ordinance like this. Until the state decides to move forward we are stopped. We are currently in the process of trying to overturn this statue to be able to pass both a paper and plastic bag ordinance. If you would like to assist in outside support, I would be more than happy to include links to legislators who could assist in this endeavor.

  2. April 17, 2012

    This is one of the most incredible blogs Ive read in a very long time. The amount of information in here is stunning, like you practically wrote the book on the subject. Your blog is great for anyone who wants to understand this subject more. Great stuff; please keep it up!

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