Colorado Lawmakers Move to Ban Styrofoam, Plastic Bags

If signed by the governor, the ban will go into effect next year.

June 10, 2021

Plastic Utensils

DENVER—Colorado lawmakers have passed a bill that would ban the use of Styrofoam and would tax most single-use plastics, reports, and the bill is now on the desk of Gov. Jared Polis.

House Bill 1162 will prohibit the use of single-use plastic bags, except in certain situations when each bag will cost the consumer a minimum of 10 cents. Businesses that may continue to use plastic bags include restaurants that prepare or serve food in individual portions or stores that have three or fewer locations in Colorado. Once the ban goes into effect, businesses are permitted to use their remaining stock for a few months without penalty.

Businesses may keep 40% of proceeds from the bag tax but must relinquish the other 60% to the municipality or county where they are located. The bill also prohibits Styrofoam products from being used as containers for ready-to-eat food. Certain exceptions apply, including Styrofoam used in the packaging of pharmaceutical drugs, medical devices and dietary supplements.

The ban is set to begin in 2022, and businesses that violate it will be subject to fines of $500 for a second violation and $1,000 for a third or subsequent violation. Customers who can prove they participate in a state-assisted food program are exempt from the bag tax. Denver had previously passed its own bag tax, but implementation was delayed due to coronavirus concerns