High-School Students Clear Hurdle for Plastic Bag Ban
A proposal in Colorado to ban the use of plastic bags in supermarkets passed its first legislative hurdle as the the Senate Business, Labor and Technology Committee voted 4-3 to back the measure.
Spearheaded by a group of high school students from Kent Denver School, Colorado Senate Bill 156 (pdf) is opposed by supermarkets and big box stores who argue that the added burden would put unnecessary.
If the bill passes, stores would have to begin using biodegradable bags made from paper (or other organic materials) and/or encourage their customers to bring their own bags.
The three Republicans on the committee, who all voted against the ban, argued it would increase the use of paper bags, which they said take more energy and water to make than plastic bags.
But the students from Kent Denver School, who were also on hand to testify at the hearing, were well-prepared as they swamped lawmakers with statistics about plastic bags throughout the hearing, telling lawmakers that 90 percent of all grocery bags are plastic and it takes 1,000 years for those bags to decompose in landfills.
“We have an environmental concern that far outweighs the minimal impact this bill will have on the industry,” said Kent Denver junior J.J. Shpall, who then cited the success of a the plastic bag ban in Ireland and how it has cut consumption of the bags by 90 percent.
In recent years, Colorado has been showing more signs of trending away from its conservative roots — and Republican Sen. Shawn Mitchell is all too familiar with that trend.
“When you do run for office,” said Mitchell to one of the high school students, “would you please do it in some district other than mine?”
Image: CC Licensed by flickr user spratmackrel