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Large grocers in Fort Collins no longer providing plastic grocery bags starting in May

A city ordinance going into effect May 1 bans plastic bags at grocers larger than 10,000 square feet. Paper bags will be available for 10 cents each.

FORT COLLINS, Colo. — Large grocery stores in Fort Collins will no longer be providing plastic grocery bags and will charge customers 10 cents apiece for paper bags, starting May 1.

A city ordinance going into effect on that date bans plastic bags at the 15 Fort Collins grocers that are larger than 10,000 square feet. Paper bags will be available for 10 cents each. The ordnance applies to in-store grocery purchases as well as curbside pickup and delivery.

Revenue from the fee is split so the city gets 6 cents and the grocer gets 4 cents from each bag.

Participants of federal, state and local income-qualified programs, such as SNAP and WIC, are exempt from the fee if they can present a current benefit card.

The rule applies only to disposable carryout bags. It does not include bags used inside the store, such as those used to package bulk items, baked goods or produce. It also does not apply to bags used by pharmacists to contain prescription drugs.

The disposable bag ordinance was adopted by city council in February 2021 and approved by voters in April 2021. On March 1 city council approved amendments to bring it in line with a state plastic bag law passed in July

That state law requires stores to charge 10 cents for plastic bags starting Jan. 1, 2023. It prohibits stores from distributing plastic bags, even for a fee, starting June 1, 2024. Small stores that operate solely in Colorado and have three or fewer locations are exempt.

Several other Colorado cities, including Denver and Boulder, already charge fees for carryout bags. 

From July: Everything you need to know about Denver's new bag fee

From August: Town of Frisco eliminates single-use plastic bags this week

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