The New State Law - Requirement of Retailers Fee on Single Use Carry Out Bags

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  • The New State Law – Requirement of Retailers Fee on Single Use Carry Out Bags

Colorado House Bill 21-1162 will kick off a statewide effort to reduce waste from single-use bags beginning January 1, 2023 and continuing with complete realization in 2024. This phased effort will minimize the number of plastic bags that damage recycling equipment, fill landfills, and pollute the environment. Businesses within Eagle County are subject to the state law and Eagle County will be administering it within unincorporated areas.

Beginning January 1, 2023, any carryout bag provided by a business in Eagle County will require a 10-cent fee per bag to be charged to the customer taking the bag(s). The fee applies to both paper and plastic single-use carryout bags at all large grocery and retail stores (restaurants, and small Colorado-only stores with 3 or fewer locations in the state, are exempt). Businesses can apply for exemption using this form. The fee does not apply to single-use bags used inside the store to package bulk items; wrap frozen or fresh foods, flowers, or other items where dampness may be a problem; or contain unwrapped prepared foods and bakery goods. It also does not apply to bags used for prescription drugs.

Stores must begin charging the fee on January 1, 2023. The store is entitled to retain 4-cents for every bag, which may be used for employee training and administration of the bag fee program, purchase of reusable or paper bags or other measures. Stores are required to remit 6-cents of the 10-cent fee to the County for recycling, composting and other waste diversion programs, including outreach and education activities.

On a quarterly basis, starting April 1, 2024, stores and retail food establishments must remit the total amount of carryout bag fees collected in the previous quarter to the County. A link to online fee remittance is available here. Please note this form is subject to change to ensure regulatory compliance.

The State Law requires that businesses that provide carryout bags:

  • Educate customers on the fee via posted signage. Free signage and other business resources can be downloaded from EcoCycle’s Guide to Bag Fees for Businesses.
  • Include on receipts the type and number of bags taken as well as the bag fee(s) paid by the customers.

Starting January 1, 2024, the bag ban goes into effect on plastic carryout bags. The small store exemption will likely expire in Eagle County, requiring all stores to comply with paper bag fees and plastic bag bans. Additionally with the start of 2024, a polystyrene (Styrofoam) food container ban will go into effect. This phased approach aims to implement behavioral changes that reduce waste from single-use materials that readily contaminate the environment. Consumers can avoid the fees by forgoing bags or by bringing reusable bags, which can also include previously used plastic or paper bags. Eagle County strongly encourages all consumers to refuse single-use bags and retailers to encourage consumer efforts to reduce waste.


Eagle County has prepared a Bag Fee Preparation Checklist for Retailers – view that here.