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LWV raising awareness on plastic bags

 | Published on 7/31/2019

Patrons to the Estes Valley Farmers Market for the rest of the season will have a chance to obtain reusable bags from the League of Women Voters of Estes Park (LWVEP).

“We want to raise awareness about the [problems] with single-use plastic bags,” said LWVEP President Liz Zornes. “I have seen bags in trees, on sidewalks, in the rivers. I have seen wildlife with bags stuck on their antlers.”

Single-use plastic grocery bags are a common sight in stores across the country, but there has been a trend of banning them or instituting a fee in a number of towns in Colorado. Zornes said a challenge reusable bag proponents face is there is actually a Colorado statute that prohibits municipalities from banning plastic. Section 7 of the Colorado Revised Statutes, 25-17-104 states:

“No unit of local government shall require or prohibit the use or sale of specific types of plastic materials or products or restrict or mandate containers, packaging, or labeling for any consumer products.”

There has been some movement at the state legislature to change the statute, which is a part of the recycling section,  The League learned about the statute last year when they formed their environmental committee and looked to other towns to see their solutions. Zornes said they are in a wait and see mode with the statute.

So right now the League is working on education, and each bag comes with a fact sheet on plastic and the impact it can have on the environment.

“It is a simple thing to take in reusable bags,” Zornes said. “It is a learned behavior, [and as with most learned behaviors] it might be resisted at first.”

You can get your bag at each Farmers Market until September, and the League asks for a small donation to recoup the costs of the bags.