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Colorado single-use plastic ban passes, 'small stores' with 3 locations or fewer exempt

The state legislature sent the bill to Gov. Polis' desk for signature after giving final approval on Tuesday.

DENVER — A bill banning single-use plastics and foam polystyrene food containers with exceptions received final approval from the Colorado General Assembly on Tuesday and is going to Gov. Jared Polis' desk for signature.

Under HB21-1162, stores and retail food establishments will not be allowed to provide the single-use items to customers, but "a retail food establishment that is a restaurant and not a store or convenience store may provide single-use plastic carryout bags," the bill reads.

The ban would not apply to existing plastic bag inventory bought before Sep. 1, 2022 and used before March 2023. Also, foam polystyrene containers bought by retail food establishments before Jan. 1, 2022 can be used until depleted.

Stores will be able to provide recycled paper bags or single-use plastic bags from Sep. 1, 2021 through Sep. 1, 2022 for a 10 cent fee. After that period, only paper bags will be allowed. 

Credit: Bluesky60 - stock.adobe.com

A few important aspects of the bill were changed before final approval was granted by the Senate and confirmed by the House.

An item that would have prohibited local governments from establishing their own stricter plastics bans was removed from the bill.

In addition, an item was added exempting small stores with three or fewer locations in the state from the bill.

Beginning Jan. 1 2022, stores will be required to to remit 60% of the plastic bag fee on a quarterly basis to their municipality or county, and can keep the remaining 40%.

The municipality or county will be allowed to put the revenue towards the administrative and enforcement costs and any recycling, composting, other waste diversion programs along with related outreach and education activities.

The fee will not apply to customers that have proof of being in a federal or state food assistance program.

PREVIOUS: State lawmakers advance bill banning certain single-use plastics

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