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Posted on: May 21, 2018

Colorado Supreme Court Upholds Aspen’s Bag Fee

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Colorado Supreme Court Upholds Aspen’s Bag Fee


The City of Aspen is pleased to report that the Colorado Supreme Court has decided to uphold the city-wide bag fee in Aspen grocery stores. This decision is consistent with those of the lower courts, that the bag fee does not operate as a tax.

The 20-cent fee on single-use paper bags in the City of Aspen is both a deterrent to the use of wasteful single-use products and encouragement for citizens to use alternative multi-use options. Laura Armstrong, Climate and Sustainability Programs Associate, shared findings from a recent Single-Use Bag Study, “We have found, since the enactment of this fee in May of 2012, that there is an 87.5% community approval of the fee”. She went on to state that, “Aspen citizens are observed using single-use bags almost 60% less than comparable neighboring communities”.

The Environmental Health & Sustainability department of the City of Aspen has a wide offering of programs addressing single-use waste. Some of those programs include a reusable bag bank, distribution of multi-use alternatives (i.e. bamboo utensils and reusable water bottles), and an ongoing partnership with the tourism and lodging industries to cut down on single-use waste and offer alternatives.

More on the Colorado Supreme Court decision found here, and on City of Aspen programs here.

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