NewsCovering Colorado


Grocery shoppers react to Colorado's plastic bag fee

Carryout Bag Fee starts Jan.1
Posted at 7:06 AM, Dec 28, 2022

COLORADO — Customers at grocery stores and most businesses in Colorado will now pay 10 cents per plastic bag at the checkout. It's Colorado's effort to reduce waste.

The law went into effect on Jan. 1 and shoppers told KOAA they'll have to get into the habit of bringing reusable bags with them.

"It's just the last thing I think about, you know when I'm going to the grocery store. You're like, 'Oh my gosh, I forgot the bag!' You know, so you're like carrying all this stuff and trying to take it to the car," said Janice Hager, a local shopper.

"I've seen people handing out extra shopping bags out of their cars to other customers to help them out because they didn't have the bags," said Miki Shane, a local shopper.

The new law is the first step of House Bill 21-1162, a bill issuing a new Carryout Bag Fee. It’s only the start. Colorado plans to eventually get rid of all plastic bags by Jan. 1, 2024. Stores will only give out recycled paper bags at 10 cents each. Styrofoam food containers will also be banned in Colorado on Jan. 1, 2024.

Businesses will give 60% of the revenue from the fees to the local government in which they operate. The government can only spend the money on bag fee enforcement and waste diversion programs. The other 40% of the revenue is for businesses to keep.

The new law has mixed emotions among shoppers.

“I mean, we are using a lot less bags, we are having a lot less waste going into the oceans, into the landfills, so I think it will probably be good in the long run,” said Logan Markley, a local shopper.

“It sucks. I use plastic bags to carry my groceries home because I don’t have a car and now I have to buy reusable bags and have to carry all that extra stuff to the grocery store,” said Deborah Kluth, another local shopper.

It’s important to note small stores and mom-and-pop places still have exemptions. Only businesses with three of more locations will have to comply with the law, including chains like Safeway, Walmart, King Soopers, and Target.

State Walmarts have decided to do away with plastic bags altogether.

"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," said Lauren Willis, director of communications for Walmart in the Western U.S. "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."

Cities that passed laws charging even more than 10 cents per bag can keep their laws. This includes Boulder and Aspen. To read more about the new law, visit here.

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