Colorado lawmakers reject statewide plastic bag ban

25 February 2009 17:17  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS news)--Colorado lawmakers rejected a bill that would have made the state the nation’s first to ban the use of plastic bags by large retailers, the bill’s sponsor, state Sen. Jennifer Veiga (Democrat-Denver), said on Wednesday.

The bill, which narrowly passed through a state Senate committee two weeks ago, was universally opposed by Republicans, and several Senate Democrats joined with them on Tuesday in rejecting the measure.

The opponents claimed the ban would cause an increased use of paper bags, which they said take more energy and water to make than plastic bags. Additionally, some were concerned that paper bags take up more room in landfills.

Likewise, the American Chemistry Council (ACC) has maintained that "switching back to paper bags increases greenhouse gas emissions, energy use and waste". The trade group supports plastic-bag recycling programmes.

However, Veiga said that her intent was for shoppers to use reusable bags, not paper. In addition, she said plastic bags were a bigger problem than paper bags because they are used more widely, made from petroleum products and are not recycled as frequently as paper.

Veiga told the Associated Press (AP) that she thought Colorado lawmakers were wary of becoming the first state to enact such a ban, although lawmakers in Hawaii, Missouri, New Jersey and New York are considering similar bans, the AP reported.

While no statewide bans exist to ban plastic bags, city ordinances are already in place in the California cities of Santa Monica, San Francisco and Oakland that ban all or almost all plastic bags, according to the advocacy group Better Bags Colorado.

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By: Ben DuBose
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