Op-Ed: Denver’s New Sack Program Just Spends The Money

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Support Denver’s independent voice and help keep Westword’s future free.

Let’s talk about that new Denver “tax” bag, okay?

As most people know, I am deeply committed to efforts that support a positive impact for all members of our community, but when I see the effort disguised as impact, I do my homework.

1. As part of the Bring Your Own Bag program, my gift shop is now required to collect 10 cents for a bag that a customer requests (even the recycled paper bags that we already buy; we never had plastic bags).

2. The 6 cents we owe the City are not used for any environmental effort; that money is simply used to administer the program.

3. We cannot keep the 4 cents as income, and must use it to buy reusable bags that we produce.

4. I just went to Walgreens and received a Plastic bag and the cashier told him that they add the bags to the transaction, but that never actually charges people (so they don’t have to hand over anything). And sure enough, my receipt showed a bag charge on the transaction, but an amount of $ 0.

For me, this is an example of policy in action: strengthening egos, and giving the illusion of committing to the environment, when in fact you are handing over the responsibility to small businesses that do. already enough on our plates.
I’m talking about real environmental efforts, like tackling catastrophic recycling rates in Colorado, or improving public transportation to reduce dependence on cars, or holding Suncor and the other polluters accountable, or the City of Denver. doing absolutely everything in their own buildings to be more sustainable (they still use K-cups in the mayor’s office and not local coffee).

This experience at Walgreens has shown me that, as always, the big guys will no longer see the law enforcement… because small businesses like mine are in fact following the directive.

I’m all for reducing harmful plastic bags, e-waste and many other things that negatively impact our environment, but I believe we have to start by forcing changes with the biggest culprits. like Amazon, Target, etc., rather than those of us. who already made the changes a long time ago – because we already care about our community!

Erika Righter is a social worker turned small business owner. She has worked in foster care, rural social work and with the elderly. In 2012, Erika founded Hope Tank, a gift shop that gives back. She uses retail to connect the more than 40,000 customers who come to Hope Tank each year with justice-focused organizations and groups that do important work in our community. She consults with for-profit and non-profit organizations on their impact and messages, and launched an inclusive business directory in 2017 called The Hope Slinger’s Guide.

Westword occasionally publishes editorials and essays on topics of interest to the community. Do you have one you would like to submit? Send it to [email protected], where you can also comment on this article.

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About Margaret L. Portillo

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