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Bag Fee To Take Effect In Denver July 1: 'We're Tired Of The Constant Litter'

DENVER (CBS4) - Starting July 1, the City of Denver will implement a 10 cent fee per plastic or paper bag, but this isn't first bag fee Coloradans have seen. Boulder has had one for years, and Fort Collins and Summit County towns have them, too.

Grace Rink the Executive Director, of the Office of Climate Action, Sustainability and Resiliency says it's time Colorado's largest city has one.

(credit: CBS)

"We're tired of the constant litter that plastic bags create," she said.

Boulder implemented their fee in 2013 and say they saw immediate results.

"They found a 70% reduction in the use of disposable bags," said Rink.

The Denver ordinance differs in one key way as retail and liquor stores also have to comply. However, just like the Boulder program, Denver will take that 10 cent fee and split it between the city and the business.

Four of the 10 cents will go to the business to help educate their customers on the program, training employees on how to implement it, improving infrastructure to implement the fee or to give free reusable bags to their customers. In other words, it is not revenue.

Six cents will go to the city to pay for enforcement costs and waste diversion programs.

Barbara Macfarlane owns Marczyk Fine Foods in Denver. She says the change shouldn't be a big deal. A lot of their clientele already bring their own bags.

"We are excited about the transition," she said. "Who doesn't have a bag in their car."

She says they are planning to sell inexpensive reusable bags for their customers as well as more high-end ones made out of used banners by a Denver group that gives second chances to formerly incarcerated women. It's their way of using this ordinance to help the community even more.

They are very excited about them.

"We're going to have a pocket for your baguette and a pocket for your bottle of water," said Macfarlane.

If this seems like it will be a big hit to your budget to buy reusable bags, don't worry, people receiving food assistance, like SNAP, will be exempt from the fee. The city is also giving out free reusable bags throughout the summer.

For a list of times and locations, you can visit their website.

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