(COLORADO SPRINGS) — Starting Jan. 1, 2023, stores in Colorado will begin charging a 10-cent fee per bag, to provide customers with a recycled paper or single-use plastic bag as part of a statewide mandate. The mandate was put in place by the Plastic Pollution Reduction Act which was signed into law in July 2021.
The measure goes into full effect on Jan. 1, 2024, when single-use plastics will be banned from stores and retail food establishments, with the exception of restaurants and small stores that operate solely in Colorado and have three or fewer locations – those stores will still be permitted to provide customers with single-use plastic bags.
The fee goes into effect at the beginning of 2023 as a transitionary period to prepare stores and customers to go without single-use plastic bags by the start of 2024.
Businesses will be required by law to charge the 10-cent per bag fee throughout 2023, and those that don’t comply could face a $500 fine for a second violation or $1,000 for a third or subsequent violation. Local governments will be responsible for enforcement.
After Jan. 1, 2024, stores can only offer recycled paper bags at the point of sale, with the 10-cent or higher bag fee imposed on the purchase.
The move is in an effort to encourage customers to bring their own reusable shopping bags to stores, so single-use plastic bags don’t end up in streets and trees, polluting Colorado’s beautiful natural landscape.
Walmart said in a statement that their model will shift to paper bags for delivery, and they will no longer be providing single-use plastic or paper bags at checkout or pickup.
Read Walmart’s full statement sent to FOX21 News below:
Beginning Sunday, January 1, 2023, Walmart stores in Colorado will no longer provide single-use plastic or paper bags at checkout or pickup. Delivery will shift to paper bags. We are working hard to ensure a seamless and convenient shift to reusable bags for our customers and associates. Eliminating single-use bags is part of our commitment to achieve zero waste across our operations and ultimately shift gradually toward a circular economy built on advancing reuse, refill and recycling habits.Lauren Willis, Global Communications Director – Western U.S.
In addition to plastic bags, the act prohibits restaurants from using an expanded polystyrene (Styrofoam) product for use as a container for ready-to-eat food.
Retail food establishments that purchase Styrofoam products before Jan. 1, 2024, can continue to use the products until their supply is depleted.
Exceptions to the law include:
- Materials used in the packaging of pharmaceutical drugs, medical devices, or dietary supplements
- Any equipment or materials used to manufacture pharmaceutical drugs, medical devices, or dietary supplements
- The carryout bag fee does not apply to any person who can provide evidence to the store that they are a participant in a federal or state food assistance program
- Restaurants and small stores that operate solely in Colorado and have three or fewer locations can continue to provide single-use plastic bags