Stores Charge For Plastic Bags

Starting January 1st, 2023, stores and food retailers must charge 10 cents per plastic or recyclable bag in hopes to reduce Colorado’s use of single-use plastics.


Presleigh Goodwin, Staff Writer

If you or a family member has been to a grocery store since the new year, you have probably been blindsided by Colorado’s new statewide carryout bag fee. Starting January 1st, 2023, stores and food retailers must charge 10 cents per plastic or recyclable bag in hopes to reduce Colorado’s use of single-use plastics. After shopping, customers are faced with an extra ten cents per bag at check out in order to hold their groceries, takeout, etc. In hopes to avoid this cost, customers can opt for a reusable bag or carry groceries in their hands for free.
The Nitty Gritty – The Laws and Exceptions
Don’t get too comfortable with this new change though, in just one year, consumers will be faced with another change in their shopping habits. On January 1st, 2024, customers may only purchase a recyclable paper bag for the cost of 10 cents, and plastic bags will be banned. However, according to the Colorado Department of Revenue, “certain retail food establishments, and small stores that operate solely in Colorado and have 3 or fewer locations, may provide single-use plastic carryout bags.” In addition to this, materials and manufacturing of supplements, medicines, medical devices, and pharmaceutical drugs are exempt from this act.
This act doesn’t only focus on single-use plastic but also bans the sale of styrofoam, such as takeout containers beginning in 2024. Though, businesses are allowed to get rid of prior styrofoam inventory that was purchased before January 1st, 2024.
You get a Recyclable Bag! And You Get a Recyclable Bag! – Who has the Bag Ban?
The single-use plastic ban and fees have been used in other cities and states including, California, Hawaii, New York, etc. Ireland for example began charging for plastic bags in 2002. Now, it is reported that there has been a 90% plastic reduction in the country. In addition, according to Seattle Bag Tax, Ireland saw a 94% decrease in plastic bag consumption which decreased consumption by about 1 billion bags.
A Win for the Environment! – Colorado Promoting Environmental Health
The hope for the plastic bag ban in Colorado is to promote positive behavior within nature and provide environmental justice. When someone is done with their plastic bags, they eventually end up in landfills, bodies of water, and the environment. Plastic bags in our environment can cause detrimental impacts to not only us but the animals that we share the earth with.
Many animals will accidentally ingest or be suffocated by these bags. In addition, toxic particles from plastic bags make their way into our water systems, soils, and our bodies with The Guardian stating scientists found, “tiny (plastic) particles in almost 80% of the people tested. For humans, the particles and chemicals coming off the plastic bags can cause, “an imbalance in hormones, reproductive issues, and even cancer,” according to Potomac Riverkeeper Network. Colorado is aiming to decrease the reliance on plastic to reduce the amount of litter and excess trash through the new law which in the long run protects the health of all animals.
Not All Sunshine and Rainbows – The Cons of the Law
Though many find this act to be a step in the right direction, others disagree. It can be seen as a financial burden to grocers and shoppers who maybe can’t afford the extra cost. In addition, stores and shoppers must opt for paper and reusable bags.
Paper bags lead to more deforestation and take more energy to reproduce while reusable bags must be cleaned and washed which according to Colorado Sun uses, “valuable fresh water.” Though Colorado is hoping to help reduce litter and plastic consumption, it is important for each person to question if this act is the most effective way to achieve this goal.

For the Rule Breakers – What Happens if You Don’t Comply?
On this note, there will always be potential businesses that will not comply. In this case, refusing businesses will be sued. They will potentially be charged $500 for the second violation and $1,000 for a third violation.
How to Adjust – The Present and The Future
With these new laws put in place, and no sign of going anywhere due to the people’s increasing support, shoppers and businesses are forced to adjust in order to avoid costs. To do so, shoppers can purchase reusable plastic bags to keep in their car for easy access, or until January 1st, 2024, they can purchase their plastic or paper bags at a cost of 10 cents.

For The Visual Learner – Diagrams about the Bag Ban

Plastic Fragments, Plastic bags and Film, Fishing Material are the Top 3 plastic debris collected.
Rockefeller Institute of Government – February 24, 2020