Some Carbondale stores balk at expanded bag ban
Carbondale is moving toward expanding the plastic bag ban to several retail stores, but several businesses are worried about the negative impacts.
“I hear from a lot of people that [the bag ban] is the reason they don’t shop in Carbondale,” said Don Boos, CEO of the Roaring Fork Co-op in Carbondale.
Boos, whose store would be affected if the expanded bag ban is passed, said he supports efforts to be environmentally friendly. But wishes there had been more time to develop a less-disruptive solution.
“Don’t get me wrong, I want to do what’s environmentally right, but we have to have a solution to take care of the customers that come in without penalizing them,” Boos said.
The Carbondale Board of Trustees on July 23 advanced an amendment to the current bag ban, which applies only to the City Market, to include all retail stores of more than 9,000 square feet (SF).
The ordinance bans plastic take-out bags (not small in-store bags for vegetables, nuts and bolts, etc.), and places a 20-cent charge on paper bags.
Trustees are scheduled to vote on the final ordinance at their next scheduled regular meeting, on Aug. 13.
The town’s environmental board contacted the stores that might be affected by the ban leading up to the July 23 meeting, and said only one store, NAPA Auto Parts, was strongly opposed.
Boos said he was unaware that anyone had contacted the Co-op about the expanded ban, and wished the town had communicated better.
Proponents of the expanded ban say that expanding the bag ban, which went into effect in 2012, was always in the plan.
“The early intention of that ban was that it would be applicable to all businesses in Carbondale. So it’s a little challenging to think that people are surprised by it when it’s been a discussion point for a very long time,” said Carbondale Trustee Heather Henry.
The bag ban “in and of itself isn’t going to make a big reduction in the plastic poisoning of our earth,” but it would be a step in the right direction, Environmental Board member and former trustee Frosty Merriott said in a previous interview.
The 9,000 SF stipulation in the proposed bag ban — a change from the current ordinance — excludes NAPA, which is 8,000 SF and the most vocal opponent of the ban.
But the e-board still contacted NAPA store owner Ron Friemel on the day of the ban, in case the trustees wanted to keep the 3,500 SF requirements.
“When it comes to locally owned stores, there’s a greater cost of doing business for all of us,” Friemel said.
Friemel also said the town was moving haphazardly in imposing the ban, without looking at other options.
“If the city is going to pass these ordinances, they really should find a solution for all the stores in town,” Friemel said.
He suggested moving to biodegradable bags, and potentially creating a co-op of local businesses to purchase the bags in bulk.
The other stores that would be affected are generally ready to implement the ban. Sopris Liqour and Wine already uses paper bags and doesn’t offer plastic. ACE Hardware, right next to City Market, has been working on shifting to reusable bags for some time, and plans to do a bag giveaway in August to celebrate the shift to being a bag-less store.
“We’ve been ready to transfer over for some time. We’re just getting rid of the bag stock we’ve had,” ACE store Manager Anthony Apodaca said.
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