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Breck Merchant Not Getting Complaints About New Bag Fee

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A "Breckenridge" reusable bag (credit: CBS)

A “Breckenridge” reusable bag (credit: CBS)

BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. (CBS4) – For those shopping for anything in Breckenridge who don’t bring their own bag, it’s going to cost them as new rules went into effect on Tuesday.

It doesn’t matter for those going to the grocery store or the t-shirt store, paper or plastic, it’s all going to cost 10 cents per bag.

“I was very hesitant to come to work today. I was not looking forward to having a negative response for the bag fee,” Maggie Pocotte with Peak-A-Boo Toys said.

Breckenridge decided mid-October was a good time to start its bag fee, because with a lull between summer and winter tourism peaks, businesses could adjust to the new law.

“But the feedback has been wonderful and everybody has been really positive to respond to it,” Pocotte said. “No one has given me any negative feedback.”

“We wanted to make it clear that it was all bags; kind of a symbol of our consumptive society, and we really wanted to change people’s attitudes,” said Jennifer McAtamney, Breckenridge Mayor Pro-Tem.

The town says the bag fee was four years in the making, but an all-out ban wouldn’t have had the same effect. And being one of the state’s most popular tourist destinations they wanted to take one more step. Local companies did pro-bono work to create a 99 cent reusable bag option available at many hotels and stores.

“This was really felt strongly by the merchants in our community that having a “Breckenridge” bag was vital to the program and the success of it in the long term,” McAtamney said. “We’ve also ordered 50,000 of these bags.”

“He just asked me if I wanted (a Breckenridge bag), and I said ‘yes’ because I liked the idea that it has all the seasons for Breckenridge,” said Judy Farnam, who was visiting from Durango. “And I needed another bag because I feel like it’s the right thing to do.”

“I expected more people to buy the reusable bags than to do the 10 cents for a disposable bag and it’s been about 50/50,” Pocotte said.

The 10 cent fee is going into a fund that’s set up to educate people. It also goes to making more of the reusable bags. The other hope with the city’s reusable bag is that visitors will take it home and spread the word of the mountain town.

The town expects to come out with another design every year.

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