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Colorado statewide 10-cent bag fee goes into effect Jan. 1

A statewide 10-cent bag fee, aimed at reducing single-use plastics but which also includes recycled paper, goes into effect on New Year’s Day.

“Nearly 20 Colorado communities already have some sort of ban or fee on single-use bags, and others have been preparing for the implementation of HB21-1162 to reduce single-use bags in their communities,” according to an Eco-Cycle news release. Eco-Cycle is a Boulder-based non-profit and zero-waste organization.

Colorado is the first non-coastal state to enact a statewide bag fee and ban, according to the release.

Eco-Cycle this week launched a free online tool kit to help governments, businesses and people navigate the new policy.

The revenue from the 10-cent bag fees will mostly go back to local governments, though some will be spent on waste diversion and enforcement of the fee rules. Some local governments, like Denver, have already enacted such fees.

The statewide law allows several exemptions, including for restaurants and shops businesses with three or fewer locations in the state — basically, as long as they aren’t a chain with locations outside the state.

“An estimated 4.6 million plastic bags are used every day in Colorado,” according to Eco-Cycle. “Plastic bags are one of the most common pollutants in Colorado rivers, litter landscapes, and can be lethal to birds, fish, and cattle that mistake plastics as food.”

HB21-1162, signed into law in July of 2021, bans the use of polystyrene packaging and single-use plastic bags on Jan. 1, 2024.

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