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Fort Collins council backs grocery bag fee

Using paper or plastic bags could end up costing Fort Collins shoppers at the grocery store check-out counter.

The City Council on Tuesday gave initial approval to an ordinance requiring grocers to charge customers 10 cents for each disposable bag supplied by the store.

Grocers would keep all revenue generated by the fee under the ordinance, but would be required to spend at least 50 percent of it to buy reusable bags to distribute to customers.

The proposal passed 5-2, with Mayor Karen Weitkunat and Councilman Wade Troxell opposed.

The measure passed over the objections of some residents and industry groups.

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Longtime resident Jeff Bailey said the proposal is a bad idea, describing it as “fascist” and a government overreach. He challenged the city’s stated goal to “create a culture” of re-use in the community.

“Since when is it the government’s job to create a culture of anything?” he said. “The government’s job is to create infrastructure, provide the rule of law; not to tell us what we should or shouldn’t use.”

Supporters of the measure said disposable bags cause pollution in the community and their numbers should be reduced. An estimated 60 percent of bags used in Fort Collins come from grocery stores, according to a city report.

Source: City of Fort Collins