Lawmakers in Colorado are debating introducing a tax on plastic bags supplied by grocery stores. The move would be an important step in the direction of curbing plastic pollution – and as an added benefit, the proceeds from the tax would go towards affordable housing in the state.

The 25 cent tax per transaction for using plastic bags was proposed by state Representative Paul Rosenthal and state Senator Lois Court, WesternSlopeNow reports.


The responses to the tax are mixed, with some store owners worrying about their businesses and how the tax could potentially affect them financially. However, looking at the cities, states, and countries as well as companies that have already introduced similar taxation, the likely results of the move are positive.

After implementing a tax on single-use plastic bags, the UK has seen a 40 percent drop in the number of bags found per 100 meters of coastline. In the Netherlands, plastic bag use has plunged 71 percent after introducing a bag ban.

It might seem like a small step, but a tax can help chip away at the estimated 100 billion plastic bags a year. Sadly, once the bags are discarded, they take hundreds of years to break down and, even after that, do not disappear from the face of the earth completely. Every year, around 8.8 million tons of plastic are dumped into the oceans and around 700 marine species are in danger of extinction because of the threat they pose. Sea turtles easily confuse plastic bags with jellyfish and end up eating them, which can cause serious damage to their intestines – and usually results in their death.

Plastic bags might not seem like a big deal to us, but to animals, it could be life or death. Hopefully, this tax in Colorado becomes reality, but if not there are still many ways we all can make a difference in our plastic use. To learn how to help the planet by using less plastics, check out One Green Planet’s #CrushPlastic campaign!


Image source: yutakaseki/Flickr