Bag Fee & Styrofoam Ban
Plastic Pollution Reduction Act
The State of Colorado made a substantial move to combat plastic pollution by passing the Plastic Pollution Reduction Act (HB21-1162), or PPRA:
- Phase 1: Initiated in 2023, introduced a statewide fee for plastic and paper bags.
- Phase 2: Began Jan. 1, 2024, provides essential information on Prohibition of Plastic Bags by Large Businesses and Ban on Polystyrene Foam in Retail Food Establishments.
Beginning Jan. 1, 2023, House Bill 23-1285: Management of Plastic Products prohibits stores and retail food establishments from providing single-use plastic bags to customers without a fee. This new state law requires businesses with 3+ locations in Colorado to collect a 10-cent fee on each single-use plastic or recycled paper carryout bag provided to their customers.
The store must remit 60% ($0.06) of the collected fee to the Town of Erie, while the business retains the other 40% ($0.04).
Starting Jan, 1 2024, plastic bags will be banned statewide, and only recycled paper bags can be sold for a minimum of $0.10 fee.
Who is Affected?
- Grocery stores and supermarkets
- Convenience stores
- Liquor stores
Who is Exempted?
- Businesses with three or fewer locations in Colorado
- Farmers and roadside markets
- Laundry or dry-cleaning services
- Bulk stores
The bag fee does not apply to anyone who provides proof of participation in federal or state food assistance programs such as SNAP or EBT.
Support for Businesses
If you're a business owner in Boulder County, Partners for a Clean Environment (PACE) can assist you in making the right transition. Contact a business sustainability advisor at 303-786-7223 or email them at info@PACEpartners.com for guidance.
Fee Remittance Process
Retailers who collect more than $20 in fees must remit bag fees on a quarterly basis to the Town of Erie. To remit collected fees to the Town, you must fill out the bag fee remittance form online and mail your payment to:
Town of Erie
PO Box 750
Erie, CO 80516
Returns are due on the 20th day of the month, following the reporting quarter. The return is due the next business day if the 20th is on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday.
Bag Fee Revenue
Erie’s Sustainability Division and Economic Development Department will track the funds collected to ensure their optimal utilization. Currently, these funds support recycling, composting, and waste diversion programs throughout Erie. Additionally, we're actively researching the Green Star School Program and a working on developing a recycling and composting program for local businesses. Stay tuned for further updates on these upcoming programs.
Note: The single-use bag fee is not a tax and none of the proceeds can be used for other non-related government expenses. Additionally, the fee cannot be included as revenue for the purposes of calculating sales tax to a customer.
Ban on Polystyrene Foam in Retail Food Establishments
Starting Jan. 1, 2024, food establishments, including restaurants, are prohibited from using:
- Polystyrene foam containers (often called Styrofoam®) for food and beverages.
- Establishments with pre-purchased containers can use them until their supply is depleted.
- For specific information about the polystyrene ban's scope and exemptions, please refer to the Eco-Cycle flyer.
The Plastic Pollution Reduction Act – PPRA (HB21-1162) introduces notable changes for both businesses and customers, particularly those using takeout containers. To assist in adapting to these changes and considering eco-friendly alternatives, we encourage you to consult the extensive 'Guide to Sustainable Serviceware for Restaurants and Food Preparation Businesses.' This resource offers valuable information on environmentally conscious service-ware options, empowering businesses and customers to make sustainable choices.
- State’s Guide to Sustainable Serviceware for Restaurants and Food Prep Businesses - Eco-Cycle (ecocycle.org)
- Boulder County guide
- Boulder County guide in Spanish
The Economic Development team is currently developing a program to assist restaurants and cafes in adapting to this transition.
Please stay tuned for further details and updates - sign up for the Business News newsletter to keep up on the latest information.