Beginning Jan. 1, 2024, two major changes will affect large stores and retail food establishments due to the state of Colorado's Plastic Pollution Reduction Act, which passed in 2021.
On and after Jan. 1, 2024, large stores and retail food establishments will be prohibited from providing single-use plastic carryout bags to customers. On and after Jan. 1, 2024, stores affected by the new law may furnish only a recycled paper carryout bag to a customer at the point of sale at a fee of 10 cents per bag or a higher fee imposed by the municipality or county in which the store is located. The City of Brighton is not imposing an additional fee.
Certain retail food establishments, and small stores that operate solely in Colorado and have three or fewer locations, may continue to provide single-use plastic carryout bags. Additionally, the carryout bag fee does not apply to a customer that provides evidence to the store that the customer is a participant in a federal or state food assistance program. For additional exemptions, visit www.brightonco.gov/bagfee.
The new law also prohibits a retail food establishment, on and after Jan. 1, 2024, from distributing an expanded polystyrene product (often known as Styrofoam) for use as a container for ready-to-eat food in Colorado. Retail food establishments that purchase expanded polystyrene products before Jan. 1, 2024, may continue to use the products until their supply is depleted.
The state of Colorado requires any store located in the City of Brighton to begin charging the 10-cent bag fee on every recycled paper carryout bag starting Jan. 1, 2024. The store is entitled to retain 4 cents of the bag fee revenue and must remit the remaining 6 cents to the City of Brighton on a quarterly basis beginning April 1, 2024. Businesses also have the option of not providing any single-use bags.