Mar 15, 2021 - Politics

Colorado Democrats declare war on plastics

Photo: Gerardo Vieyra/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Colorado is positioning to take down single-use plastic, with Democratic leaders pushing measures at the state and local levels.

Why it matters: Plastic poses harm to the environment because it never truly breaks down, but it became a lifeline for restaurants that offered takeout during the pandemic and a ban could increase costs for consumers, according to opponents.

What’s happening: A bill advanced Thursday at the Capitol that would ban restaurants and retailers from using single-use plastic bags and plastic foam containers.

  • It would also give cities the power to set their own curbs — a particular pain point for opponents who argue the clause could create a confusing policy patchwork.

What's next: More action is taking place at the local level.

  • Fort Collins will ask voters next month to ban plastic bags at grocers.
  • Colorado's mountain towns are working to strengthen their plastic bag bans after they say Walmart found a "loophole."
  • Denver Councilwoman Kendra Black tells Axios that she’s crafting a proposal that would require customers to "opt in" for single-use plastic items.

Flashback: Black passed a bill last year that puts a 10-cent fee on plastic and paper bags in Denver, but the rollout was delayed to July 1 due to the pandemic.

Yes, but: The overhaul may be favored and expectedly pass with Democrats in charge, but it still faces resistance.

  • A poll from the plastics industry shows a majority of Colorado voters opposed a state-level ban on single-use plastic bags, the Denver Business Journal reports.

The intrigue: An alternative bill, backed by the American Chemistry Council, came forward Thursday that would impose fees on the packaging producers of takeout food containers rather than mandate outright bans.

This story first appeared in the Axios Denver newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.


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