By Sue McMillin
Columnist for The Denver Post
We’ve got a few months to figure out how to organize our lives without the plastic grocery bags and foam take-out containers that are mostly banned under a new Colorado law, and in Denver, a 10 cent fee on disposable bags began Thursday.
You might think Coloradans were environmentally savvy enough to reduce our dependence on single-use and toxic plastics without a legislative mandate, but you would be wrong.
Every day, Coloradans use an estimated 4.6 million single-use plastic bags and 1.2 million polystyrene cups, according to the Colorado Public Interest Research Group (CoPIRG). Every. Single. Day.
OK, that estimate is based on national statistics that show the country’s per capita bag use at 306 a year and our per capita foam cup use at 82 a year. Even if you believe Colorado is a greener than the average state (doubtful given our dismal recycling rates) and cut that usage in half it still is appalling.
We need the law — House Bill 1162. We need the 2019 action by Kroger (parent company of King Soopers and City Market) to phase out plastic bag use nationwide by 2025. We need Vail Resorts to fulfill its promise to send zero waste to landfills by 2030, among other sustainability pledges.
We all must give up our lazy addiction to harmful plastics in the name of convenience.
The question now is what will we use in place of these things, and the answer in some cases, sadly, is not straightforward.