Take a survey on disposable bag use by going to surveymonkey.com/s/boulderbags.
Attend a public meeting on bag use from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. April 23 at the West Boulder Senior Center, 909 Arapahoe Ave.
Read more about the proposals at bouldercolorado.gov/LEAD. Click on the "Bag Use in Boulder" icon on the right-hand side of the page.
Editor's note: This story has been changed to reflect that the advisory committee that will take up the bag ban question is a city committee.
Boulder officials want to know what residents think about the idea of instituting a ban or fees on disposable plastic and paper bags.
Students from Fairview High School's Net Zero Club have pushed for a ban on plastic grocery bags, and the city has taken up the question as part of its Zero Waste Master Plan.
On April 23, Boulder will hold a public meeting on disposable bag use at the West Boulder Senior Center. At the meeting, scheduled from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., residents can get information about the options under consideration and provide feedback.
Those options include: a fee on both paper and plastic checkout bags, a ban on plastic bags combined with a fee for paper bags, a ban on both plastic and paper bags, or education and outreach campaigns to reduce the use of disposable bags.
The city also is asking residents about their plastic bag use in an online survey. The survey asks participants whether they recycle their plastic bags and whether they would support a ban or fees.
According to a Boulder County Waste Composition Study, 781 tons of plastic retail bags end up in the county's waste stream in 2010. That represents roughly 120 million plastic bags thrown away countywide.
However, that represents just 0.4 percent of the county's entire waste stream, according to the report.
The city's project website lists "culture change" as one of the reasons to reduce plastic bag use.
"While disposable bags do not represent a large proportion of Boulder's waste stream (by weight), they are very prevalent in number," the website says. "Reducing their use would address council priorities like shifting away from a disposable culture."
Perhaps more significantly, plastic bags contaminate waste diverted to recycling and composting facilities, resulting in higher operating costs, the website said. They also turn into litter and get caught in trees, fences and waterways.
Another concern is that far too few people recycle their plastic bags, the city said. Nationwide, roughly 5.7 percent of plastic bags are recycled.
The Rocky Mountain Food Industry Association, which represents the state's grocery stores, opposes bans and fees on disposable bags.
The city's Environmental Advisory Board will take up the issue April 26, the Thursday after the public meeting, and make a recommendation to the City Council.
The Boulder City Council is scheduled to discuss a plastic bag ban or fee at its May 15 meeting.
Contact Camera Staff Writer Erica Meltzer at 303-473-1355 or email@example.com.