May 26, 2021 - News

Colorado Democrats continue their crusade against single-use plastics

Illustration of a plastic bag with "NO THANK YOU" printed multiple times on it alongside a health plus.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Colorado’s crusade to overhaul single-use plastic in the name of bettering the environment continues, with Democratic policymakers advancing legislation at the state and local levels.

Driving the news: Colorado lawmakers advanced a bill that would ban restaurants and retailers from using plastic foam containers by Jan. 1, 2022 and single-use plastic bags by Sept. 1 of that year.

  • Recycled paper bags would then be offered at a 10-cent fee.

Of note: An amendment that would give cities the power to curb their own plastic rules even further — a particular pain point for opponents who argue the clause could create a confusing policy patchwork — is being reintroduced.

What else: Denver’s plastic and paper bag fee is slated to kick in July 1, bill sponsor Kendra Black tells Axios. The fee was initially delayed by the pandemic.

  • Black also passed a bill last week that will require restaurants to ask takeout and delivery customers to opt-in for single-use items like plastic utensils, napkins, straws and condiment packets.
  • The move was supported by third-party delivery companies and went unopposed by the Colorado Restaurant Association.

What they're saying: "What’s most important to us is that restaurants continue to have the ability to offer single-use plastic implements to customers rather than being strictly limited to waiting for customers to make the request," CRA spokesperson Denise Mickelsen said.

  • "As restaurants begin to walk the long road to post-pandemic economic recovery, operators need no further restrictions on their business practices."
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