Friday, April 25, 2008

Mountain town news


Plastic bag ban discussed in Rockies

TAOS, N.M. (MTN)—The call for a ban on plastic shopping bags is sweeping the Rockies, from Alberta to New Mexico.

Taos is among those communities now considering a ban, both within the town and in the broader Taos County. The Taos News says one store, Cid's Food Market, has ceased to give out plastic bags and has instead persuaded many Taoseños to use cloth bags.

The idea originated in Ireland, where a 15 cent tax is applied to each plastic bag given out in hopes of encouraging use of recycled plastic bags or of cloth bags. In Canmore, Alberta, at the entry to Banff National Park, a plastics industry representative argues that banning plastic shopping bags will cause people to buy more plastic bags for use in their home trash containers. Only 15 percent of the bags are discarded completely, says Grantland Cameron, of the Alberta Plastics Recycling Association.

Telluride's homegrown environmental group, the Sheep Mountain Alliance, also wants a ban. But Kris Bartosiak says the initiative is misguided. Plastic bags consume 40 percent less energy in production than paper bags, Bartosiak says in a letter in The Telluride Watch, and release up to 94 percent fewer waterborne wastes through their production cycle.

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