Did you know Coloradans use an estimated 4.6 million single-use plastic bags every day?
Plastic bags are produced from non-renewable resources and are very difficult to recycle. Plastic bags are not biodegradable, so they remain as litter in the environment.
A disposable bag fee of $0.10 per bag will be imposed starting in 2023 per Colorado law. You can avoid the fee by bringing your own reusable bags to the store.
Start bringing your bags today!
- Jan. 1, 2023: a new Colorado law will require some businesses to impose a 10-cent fee on disposable plastic and paper bags
- Jan. 1, 2024: Colorado law will ban single-use plastic bags at most stores and expanded polystyrene foam takeout containers (more commonly known as Styrofoam™) at restaurants
Review the state's website and take the "No Glass in the Trash" Pledge at erasethewasteco.org.
Establishments that must follow the bag fee and ban
- Major grocery stores and supermarkets
- Major convenience stores
- Major liquor stores
- Major retailers
- Other major stores providing plastic shopping bags
- Restaurants must follow the Styrofoam™ ban
Exempt establishments and items from the bag fee and ban
- Customers participating in a federal or state food assistance program
- Smaller stores with three or fewer locations
- Farmers and roadside markets
- Laundry or dry-cleaning services
- Bulk stores
- Frozen food, meat, seafood, plants, and other items that could otherwise be contaminated
A disposable bag means a bag that is not reusable. The bag fee and ban is only on disposable plastic and paper bags distributed to customers. This does not include reusable bags that may be provided by the store or any bag brought in by the customer to be used.
Disposable bag does not include:
- Bags used by consumers inside stores to:
- Package bulk items, such as fruit, vegetables, nuts, grains, candy, or small hardware items;
- Contain or wrap frozen foods, meat, or fish;
- Contain or wrap flowers, potted plants, or other items where dampness may be a problem;
- Contain unwrapped prepared foods or bakery goods; or
- A non-handled bag used to protect a purchased item from damaging or contaminating other purchased items when placed in a recyclable paper bag or reusable bag
- Bags provided by pharmacists to contain prescription drugs
- Newspaper bags, door-hanger bags, laundry-dry cleaning bags, or bags sold in packages containing multiple bags for uses such as food storage, garbage, pet waste, or yard waste bags
60% of bag fee revenue collected by businesses goes to the municipality they operate in. The remaining 40% of the bag fee revenue goes to the businesses and is not subject to sales taxes.
Local governments must use the funds for:
- Bag fee enforcement costs
- Waste-diversion programs, such as outreach and education
Stores with less than $20 in bag fee revenue in a given quarter can keep the money.
Plastic bags, paper bags, and Styrofoam™ containers take a lot of energy, water, and other resources to manufacture. Additionally, plastic bags and Styrofoam™ are not recyclable in curbside containers and cause a lot of issues when sent to the recycling center.
Reducing and banning the use of these materials will reduce litter in our community, help keep our wildlife safe, and reduce the impact of plastics on our food chain.