Plastic Pollution Reduction Act

What Businesses Need to Know for 2024

In 2024, two major changes take effect due to the State of Colorado's Plastic Pollution Reduction Act

  1. Plastic Bag Ban: Starting January 1, 2024, plastic carryout bags will no longer be distributed at large retail stores. Recycled paper bags will still be available but will carry a 10-cent fee.
  2. Polystyrene (Styrofoam) Ban: Also effective January 1, 2024, expanded polystyrene (often known as Styrofoam) food containers will be banned at all retail food establishments (see below). 

businesses affected by the polystyrene ban

FAQ: Implementation of the Plastic Pollution Reduction Act

January 1, 2023: Fee on single-use plastic and paper checkout bags took effect

A $0.10 fee on plastic and paper checkout bags is required at large grocery, convenience, and retail stores (restaurants and small, Colorado-only stores with three or fewer locations are excluded) starting Jan. 1, 2023. The retailer will keep $0.04 of the fee, and municipalities or counties will keep $0.06 of the fee to implement and enforce the law as well as use it for recycling, composting, and waste diversion programs and education. Recipients of federal or state food assistance—such as EBT, SNAP, or WIC—do not have to pay the bag fee.

January 1, 2024: Ban on single-use plastic checkout bags and polystyrene cups and food containers begins

Ban on plastic carry-out bags at large grocery, convenience, and retail stores (restaurants and small Colorado-only stores with three or fewer locations are excluded). Paper bags may still be sold and will be subject to the $0.10 fee.

Ban on polystyrene (aka Styrofoam) containers and cups for ready-to-eat foods are banned at all restaurants and schools.

What businesses must follow the polystyrene regulations that take effect in 2024?

All of the businesses that must follow the single-use bag fee in 2023 must follow the plastic bag ban as well in 2024. This includes any self-checkout and delivery service, and restaurants and other retail food establishments. See chart above.

What is a single-use checkout bag?

A single-use bag means a bag that is not reusable and is destined for our local landfill or recycling process. The bag fee is only on single-use  bags distributed to customers at the point of sale, and the bag ban taking effect in 2024 is only on single-use plastic bags. The fee and ban do not include reusable bags that may be provided by the store or any bag brought in by the customer to be used.

Single-use bag does not include:

  • Bags used by consumers inside stores to:
    • Package bulk items, such as fruit, vegetables, nuts, grains, candy, or small hardware items
    • Contain or wrap frozen foods, meat, or fish
    • Contain or wrap flowers, potted plants, or other items where dampness may be a problem
    • Contain unwrapped prepared foods or bakery goods
  • A non-handled bag used to protect a purchased item from damaging or contaminating other purchased items when placed in a recyclable paper bag or reusable bag
  • Bags provided by pharmacists to contain prescription drugs
  • Newspaper bags, door-hanger bags, laundry-dry cleaning bags, or bags sold in packages containing multiple bags for uses such as food storage, garbage, pet waste, or yard waste bags
How do Estes Park businesses comply with the bag fee?

Per a Colorado law passed in 2021, stores and retail food establishments, with more than 3 locations in Colorado, will be required to charge customers a $0.10 fee for each single-use plastic and paper bag used at the point of sale starting on January 1, 2023. Businesses will retain four cents of the fee to cover the costs of administration and compliance while six cents is to be remitted to the local government on a quarterly basis. 

For applicable businesses within town limits, the returns will be submitted to the Town of Estes Park at least on a quarterly basis. A monthly option is also provided for businesses who wish to submit on a more frequent basis, such as for businesses that file monthly sales tax returns. 

While plastic bags will be entirely banned as of January 1, 2024, applicable businesses may still offer paper checkout bags, which will still be subject to the $0.10 fee.

Learn more on fee remittance.

Learn more

Read more about the benefits of the Plastic Pollution Reduction Act by Ecocycle

Read about the environmental benefits of the polystyrene ban by Ecocycle

View the Plastic Pollution Reduction Act