June 25, 2013
Bag Fee Bingo
Reader, prepare thyself. I'm going to unload on the city government of Boulder, Colorado. I know, completely out of character for me.
I read today, in a Boulder Daily Camera dot com banner ad no less, that Boulder's grocery bags will come with a shiny new 10 cent per bag tax starting Monday, July 1. So it adds a buck to the monthly family grocery trip, I mused. Big deal. Then I read the city's justification for the new "Disposable Bag Fee."
Fee proceeds will be used to offset the impact of bags in our community. For more information please see the "Frequently Asked Questions" link below.
"Impacts?" Yes, friend. The lowly grocery bag has a societal "impact."
Boulder currently uses approximately 33 million checkout bags a year, or about 342 bags/person/year. Plastic bags are produced from non-renewable resources, are very difficult to recycle (they cannot go in Boulder’s curbside bins), and contaminate our recycling facility equipment, leading to increased operating costs.
Bingo! Boulder's recycling facility, mockingly dubbed the "Taj Mahal of Trash" by then Boulder Weekly editor Wayne Laugensen, costs a lot to operate. And with the supply of recycled material on the rise, market value is surely falling. How can Boulder afford to keep the doors open? I wonder.
33 million bags per year is 3.3 million dollars collected from grocery shoppers, assuming an inelastic response to the paltry dollar per visit cost. An earlier version of the linked page cited a trash load of about 781 tons of bags per year. So after the 4 cent per bag payoff to the, pardon the pun, "bag men" who extract the "fee" from shoppers, almost $2 million goes to the city each year. If those 781 tons were landfilled [blasphemy!] the offsetting cost per ton would be $2560.
On my last visit to the landfill I believe the dump fee was less than 1 percent of this amount. I'm wondering, when will someone calculate and devise a way to cope with the impact of city government in Boulder's community? Oh well, at least I debited the program one more click fee for the banner ad.Dirty Hippies Posted by JohnGalt at June 25, 2013 7:50 PM