Effective May 1, grocery stores in Fort Collins will no longer provide plastic bags for carrying out purchases and will begin charging customers 10-cents for each paper bag used. The ban on plastic bags is part of the City’s Disposable Bag Ordinance, passed by voters in the April 2021 election, and just one of many ways the City is prioritizing waste reduction and climate action goals. The Ordinance only applies to large grocery stores as the largest producers of single-use carry-out bags. Customers who are part of income-qualified assistance programs at the local, state, and federal levels do not have to pay the 10-cent paper bag fee.
The City’s Ordinance precedes the Colorado Plastic Pollution Reduction Act which goes into effect in 2023. The State policy will have a phased-in approach starting with a 10-cent charge for every plastic and paper bag and expanding in 2024 to ban plastic bags and polystyrene (also known as Styrofoam) carryout containers from grocery stores, convenience stores, pharmacies, restaurants, and other retailers. For both the Fort Collins and State policies, the 10-cent fee charged to customers will be split 40-60 between the retailer and the City.
“The City’s Disposable Bag Ordinance is one step in mitigating plastic pollution in our community. The paper bag fee revenue the City receives will support waste reduction and recycling efforts, as well as fund reuse projects,” said Senior Sustainability Specialist Holly Pummell, the city staffer responsible for overseeing the implementation of the Ordinance.
In preparation for the Ordinance’s effective date, the City is working closely with community partners and the thirteen impacted grocery stores to distribute educational materials, advertisements, and free reusable bags. They’re also encouraging community members to get prepared now by getting reusable bags online, in-store, or at local thrift stores, washing and strategically stashing their reusable bags in easy-to-remember places, or forgoing bags altogether by placing their purchases directly in their bike trailer, basket, or vehicle.
For more information on the Disposable Bag Ordinance, how to create a Bag Plan, and tips to reduce single-use plastics, visit ourcity.fcgov.com/plastics.