Starting Jan. 1, 2023, large stores in Colorado will begin charging a $0.10 fee on plastic and paper checkout bags as part of a statewide mandate established by the State of Colorado’s Plastic Pollution Reduction Act (House Bill 21-1162), which was signed into law in July 2021.
The law will affect large retail stores such as grocery stores, home-improvement stores, department stores, clothing stores, convenience stores, etc. Large retailers will be required to charge the $0.10 bag fee only on plastic and paper checkout bags. Other types of bags, such as produce bags, bags used for food that could contaminate other items, and bags used for prescription medicine are not subject to the fee.
Small stores with fewer than three Colorado locations will be exempt. Participants in state and federal food programs such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Women, Infant and Children (WIC) are exempt from the bag fee.
The new bag fee requirement is an effort to encourage customers to bring their own reusable shopping bags to stores, reducing consumption of single-use plastic bags. Plastic bags are a common pollutant in Colorado rivers and can be lethal to birds, fish, and cattle that mistake plastics as food. Colorado cities that have previously adopted bag fees report a 70% or greater reduction of plastic bag use.
Money from the bag fee will be distributed to businesses (40%) to cover the cost of administration and compliance and to the City of Arvada (60%) to support recycling, waste diversion programs and related outreach and educational activities.
The City of Arvada team will be hosting pop-up events at grocery stores in various locations in 2023 providing additional information about the bag fee and giving out reusable bags.
For information and resources on bag fees from the City of Arvada, visit arvada.org/bag-fee. For information on the mandate, visit Colorado HB21-1162 or the Colorado Department of Revenue.
- by City Manager