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Fort Collins Group Pushes City Council To Reconsider Bag Fee

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4) - A group pushing for the repeal of Fort Collins' 5-cent fee for plastic shopping bags is close to forcing the city council to repeal its plan or hold a city-wide vote.

"It's not protecting the environment and that combined with the impact on business" makes it a bad idea, Mike Pruznick says. He is an opponent of the bag fee and helped start the 200-member Citizens for Recycling Choices group.

Pruznick says the nickel fee the council passed last month works for grocers, but not for smaller retailers who pay more than five cents per bag shoppers use. The city argues it's the best compromise.

Citizens for Recycling Choices wants council to start over.

It started a petition that could require the city council to reconsider the bag fee. The group needs 2,604 signatures -- roughly 10 percent of the city's voters -- by Sept. 29 to make the city abandon the fee or conduct a city-wide vote on the issue. So far, they've collected about half the required signatures.

"What's more important? Do we take one step forward here, and three or four steps backwards every place else or do we take a pause and go back and actually take three or four steps forward all at one time?" Pruznick said.

RELATED: List of Colorado cities with bag fees

Those against the fee argue the new rule would not protect the environment because to avoid paying a fee, they say shoppers will stop getting plastic bags at groceries. And instead of having them on hand to reuse for, say, taking out the trash, they'll start using larger bags that contain more plastic.

"There's a use for both bags in our society and not just one or the other," Pruznick says.

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