Single-Use Bag Fee

Colorado is ready to make change!

Did you know Coloradans use an estimated 4.6 million single-use plastic bags every day? 

Plastic bags are produced from non-renewable resources and are very difficult to recycle. Plastic bags must be thrown in your garbage bin unless you bring them to an approved retailer that can recycle them such as King Soopers or Walmart. 

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. 

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.

You can avoid the fee by bringing your own reusable bags to the store. Start bringing your bags to shop in Brighton today!

Colorado Law - Plastic Pollution Reduction Act

  • Jan. 1, 2024: Colorado law will ban single-use plastic bags at most stores and expanded polystyrene foam takeout containers (more commonly known as Styrofoam™) at restaurants

What businesses must follow the single-use bag fee?

  • Grocery stores and supermarkets
  • Convenience stores
  • Liquor stores
  • Retailers
  • Other stores that provide plastic bag fees
  • Including any self-checkout and delivery services

Are there any exemptions to the bag fee?

Certain retail food establishments, and businesses that operate solely in Colorado and have three or fewer locations, may 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. The act also does not apply to materials used in the packaging or manufacturing of pharmaceutical drugs, medical devices, or dietary supplements.

  • Businesses with three or fewer locations in Colorado
  • Laundry or dry-cleaning services
  • Bulk stores
  • Restaurants

What is a single-use 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 and ban are only on single-use plastic and paper bags distributed to customers at the point of sale. This does 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 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

When does the single-use bag fee take effect?

Between January 1, 2023 and January 1, 2024, a store may furnish a recycled paper carryout bag or a single-use plastic carryout bag to a customer at the point of sale if the customer pays a fee of 10 cents per bag. Beginning January 1, 2024, a store may furnish only a recycled paper carryout bag to a customer at the point of sale at a fee of 10 cents per bag and prohibits stores and retail food establishments from providing single-use plastic carryout bags to customers. 

The act prohibits a retail food establishment, on and after January 1, 2024, from distributing an expanded polystyrene product (more commonly known as Styrofoam™) for use as a container for ready-to-eat food in this state. Retail food establishments that purchase expanded polystyrene products before January 1, 2024, may continue to use the products until their supply is depleted.


Does the fee apply to bags used for delivery orders or self-checkout?

Yes. The bag fee must be applied to each single-use bag provided at self-checkout or delivery orders from stores required to charge a bag fee.


Does this fee apply to bags used for produce?

The bag fee does not apply to some bags such as those used to package  bulk items, produce, meat, or fish.


How much is the bag fee?

The fee is ten cents ($0.10) per plastic or paper bag.


What businesses must follow the plastic bag and StyrofoamTM ban starting on January 1, 2024? 

  • All of the businesses that must follow the single-use bag fee
  • Including any self-checkout and delivery services
  • Restaurants