Bagging it
Plastic bag ban gains local traction

by Malia Durbano

A local campaign is gaining momentum to help Durango join the growing numbers of cities voluntarily reducing or eliminating single-use plastic bags. Inspired by the film “Bag It,” Zahra Lightway has formed a grassroots volunteer committee to explore instituting the program here.

Lightway’s research shows that with a population of 16,000, Durango is contributing 8.8 million bags to landfills every year. She and a few volunteers took these facts and numbers to the recent Four Corners Green Expo, where she asked people what they would be willing to do to cut down on their use. The results indicated that Durangoans would support a ban. Although the questionnaires were completed by people who are obviously biased in the area of green living, she feels the results are still valid.

Of the 83 people who answered the questionnaire, the results were split almost evenly. Forty people favored completely banning the use of plastic bags, 36 favored charging a fee for the bags and seven straddled the line.

The ban would not just affect grocery bags, but would apply to every type of plastic bag used by retailers, dry cleaners, etc.

“Our goal is to see a plastic free world,” says Lightway. At the Green Living Expo, Sweetie Marbury, who was recently elected to Durango City Council, threw her support behind a full ban.

Marbury visited Maui a few months ago and was pleased to see the program in full effect there. “I think it’s a wonderful idea and Durango should get on board,” she says. “Maui County Commissioners educated the public and gave them a few months to get used to the idea. During that time, the grocery stores gave people brown paper bags that could be recycled. People shouldn’t have to be paid to do the right thing. If you forget your bags, just take your groceries to the car in the cart and put them in the bags there.”

Durango’s new Mayor Christina Rinderle also supports such a program. “It’s a perfect fit for Durango,” she says. “It’s win-win-win. The campaign will benefit the retailers who won’t have to purchase bags to give their customers. It will be a reminder and provide a good incentive for people to actually walk back out to their cars to get their reusable, nonplastic bags, and it reduces waste.”



In this week's issue...

January 25, 2024
Bagging it

State plastic bag ban is in full effect, but enforcement varies

January 26, 2024
Paper chase

The Sneer is back – and no we’re not talking about Billy Idol’s comeback tour.

January 11, 2024
High and dry

New state climate report projects continued warming, declining streamflows