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Colorado bill proposes to ban single use plastics

Illustration: Alex Stallsworth · The Sentry
The proposed bill may help the environment but harm certain businesses.

Businesses in Colorado will have to adjust to demanding eco-friendly legislation

Colorado officials are debating a proposed bill that that would ban all single-use plastics across the state before the end of 2021. is being proposed to the House Energy and Environment community. The bill is being supported and sponsored by local Democrats Alex Valdez and Emily Sirota and also has support from Senator Julie Gonzales. The proposed bill is expected to see opposition from numerous organizations, as it will drastically change how businesses operate in Colorado.

According to an article written in the Colorado General Assembly’s website, the bill “Prohibits stores and retail food establishments, on and after July 1, 2021, from providing single-use plastic carryout bags, single-use plastic stirrers, single-use plastic straws, and expanded polystyrene food service products (collectively ‘single use products’ ) to customers at the point sale.” If passed, Colorado would be the first state to enforce a bill of this nature. HB20-1162  allows for local government to have stricter regulations than what the state could propose by creating laws in different counties. The bill gives the power of enforcement to the department of Public Health, which can enforce the law in an effective manner.

According to an article written by Sherrie Peif in the publication Complete Colorado, they explain the mechanics of the bill stating,  “-A local government may only pass an ordinance that is stricter than the state’s.

-A carryout bag means a bag that is furnished to transport or carry purchased items.

-Styrofoam is also banned.

-The ban extends to any “point of sale”, where products are ordered in a store or restaurant, or for products that are ordered remotely from a store or restaurant and delivered.

-Reusable carryout bags that are authorized under   the bill must be able to be used at least 125 times, carry at least 22 pounds, has stitched handles and is made of cloth or polypropylene.

-The ban extends to grocery stores, supermarkets, convenience stores, liquor stores, dry cleaners, pharmacies, drug stores, clothing stores, or other type of retail establishments which carryout bags are traditionally provided to customers.

-Violators face penalties ranging from $25-100 per violation and/ or legal injunctions.”

HB20-1162 is expected to provide some incentives for local businesses with this bill. According to the Colorado General Assembly’s website, “A store or retail food establishment, on or after July 1, 2021, may furnish recyclable paper carryout bags to a customer at a charge of at least 10 cents per customer, which amount the store or establishment may retain in full, unless a local government’s ordinance or resolution  prohibits the store or establishment from retaining the full charge.”

If the proposed bill goes into effect it would be the first legislation of its kind in the country, and a first step towards a smaller footprint. The bill would fundamentally change how businesses operate in the state and will likely invite opposition from multiple affected industries.

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