Plastic Pollution

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Plastic pollution is a global problem that has drawn attention from many countries, states, communities, and individuals. Unfortunately, not all plastic can be recycled, and its lightweight nature means that on windy days it can be carried out of trash and recycling bins and into our waterways and natural areas. Single-use plastics (plastic bags, straws, take-out containers, plastic utensils, Styrofoam, etc.) are especially problematic.

State and local leaders have prioritized plastic pollution in Colorado, and laws are now being implemented to reduce single-use plastics. The Fort Collins Disposable Bag Ordinance became effective May 1, 2022, banning plastic carryout bags at large grocery stores and charging a 10-cent fee for paper bags. The State of Colorado has passed the Plastic Pollution Reduction Act, a multi-phased law to reduce plastic pollution.

The first phase of the PPRA becomes effective on January 1, 2023, when large retailers will charge shoppers a 10-cent fee for plastic and paper bags used at checkout and for pickup and delivery orders. It will affect large retail stores like home-improvement stores, department stores, clothing stores, pharmacies, convenience stores, and more. The state law will not affect small stores with three or fewer Colorado locations. Bag fees do not apply to shoppers participating in state and federal food programs like Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Women, Infant and Children (WIC).

In January 2024, plastic bags will be banned from large retailers. Those stores will continue to offer paper bags for the 10-cent bag fee. In this phase, polystyrene (also known as Styrofoam) carryout containers will be banned from restaurants, fast food chains, grocery stores, and convenience stores.

Both the State and City laws aim to discourage using single-use plastic items by charging fees and eventually banning them while providing an alternative like paper bags. These laws also encourage making small, sustainable changes like using a reusable bag or bringing your own containers to pack leftovers from a restaurant.

Check out our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) in the sidebar to learn more about the Fort Collins Disposable Bag Ordinance and the Plastic Pollution Reduction Act.



Prepare for the Change

Get ready for the State law now by creating your own Bag Plan! Reusable is the future. Make the shift to reusable bags today!

Sept 1: Get your bags Most households need 5-10 bags. New and used reusable bags can be found at grocery stores, clothing stores, thrift stores or online marketplaces.

Step 2: Wash your bags – Reusable bags require regular cleaning.

Step 3: Stash them strategically - Place reusable bags in a convenient location like next to the door, in your car, bike trailer, purse, or backpack so you always have them when you need them.

Step 4: Get going - Use reusable bags each time you shop to get into the habit.

Step 5: Get creative - Already in the checkout line but forgot your bags? Put small purchases in a purse or backpack, or pack them back into your cart to transfer them to your car or bike trailer.

Already have your bag plan? Help your friends, family, and neighbors create a bag plan too!



Other Ways to Reduce Plastic Pollution and Promote Reuse
  • Support Fort Collins businesses that are committed to reducing waste

  • Bring reusable spoons, forks, knives, containers, to-go mugs, water bottles, and bags wherever you go

  • Support the reuse economy by repairing items, sharing items with friends, family, and neighbors, and shopping at thrift stores, consignment shops, and online marketplaces selling used items.

  • Upcycle items in your home to give them an additional purpose, such as using a t-shirt you no longer wear to make a reusable bag (Tutorial in the sidebar).

  • Participate in tool or equipment sharing in your community for projects


Check out the resources tab for more ideas on reducing plastic pollution in your home, business, or community.


For Businesses

Find short videos about what to expect, how to remit fees and more at fcgov.com/plastics-business-resources.

Plastic pollution is a global problem that has drawn attention from many countries, states, communities, and individuals. Unfortunately, not all plastic can be recycled, and its lightweight nature means that on windy days it can be carried out of trash and recycling bins and into our waterways and natural areas. Single-use plastics (plastic bags, straws, take-out containers, plastic utensils, Styrofoam, etc.) are especially problematic.

State and local leaders have prioritized plastic pollution in Colorado, and laws are now being implemented to reduce single-use plastics. The Fort Collins Disposable Bag Ordinance became effective May 1, 2022, banning plastic carryout bags at large grocery stores and charging a 10-cent fee for paper bags. The State of Colorado has passed the Plastic Pollution Reduction Act, a multi-phased law to reduce plastic pollution.

The first phase of the PPRA becomes effective on January 1, 2023, when large retailers will charge shoppers a 10-cent fee for plastic and paper bags used at checkout and for pickup and delivery orders. It will affect large retail stores like home-improvement stores, department stores, clothing stores, pharmacies, convenience stores, and more. The state law will not affect small stores with three or fewer Colorado locations. Bag fees do not apply to shoppers participating in state and federal food programs like Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Women, Infant and Children (WIC).

In January 2024, plastic bags will be banned from large retailers. Those stores will continue to offer paper bags for the 10-cent bag fee. In this phase, polystyrene (also known as Styrofoam) carryout containers will be banned from restaurants, fast food chains, grocery stores, and convenience stores.

Both the State and City laws aim to discourage using single-use plastic items by charging fees and eventually banning them while providing an alternative like paper bags. These laws also encourage making small, sustainable changes like using a reusable bag or bringing your own containers to pack leftovers from a restaurant.

Check out our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) in the sidebar to learn more about the Fort Collins Disposable Bag Ordinance and the Plastic Pollution Reduction Act.



Prepare for the Change

Get ready for the State law now by creating your own Bag Plan! Reusable is the future. Make the shift to reusable bags today!

Sept 1: Get your bags Most households need 5-10 bags. New and used reusable bags can be found at grocery stores, clothing stores, thrift stores or online marketplaces.

Step 2: Wash your bags – Reusable bags require regular cleaning.

Step 3: Stash them strategically - Place reusable bags in a convenient location like next to the door, in your car, bike trailer, purse, or backpack so you always have them when you need them.

Step 4: Get going - Use reusable bags each time you shop to get into the habit.

Step 5: Get creative - Already in the checkout line but forgot your bags? Put small purchases in a purse or backpack, or pack them back into your cart to transfer them to your car or bike trailer.

Already have your bag plan? Help your friends, family, and neighbors create a bag plan too!



Other Ways to Reduce Plastic Pollution and Promote Reuse
  • Support Fort Collins businesses that are committed to reducing waste

  • Bring reusable spoons, forks, knives, containers, to-go mugs, water bottles, and bags wherever you go

  • Support the reuse economy by repairing items, sharing items with friends, family, and neighbors, and shopping at thrift stores, consignment shops, and online marketplaces selling used items.

  • Upcycle items in your home to give them an additional purpose, such as using a t-shirt you no longer wear to make a reusable bag (Tutorial in the sidebar).

  • Participate in tool or equipment sharing in your community for projects


Check out the resources tab for more ideas on reducing plastic pollution in your home, business, or community.


For Businesses

Find short videos about what to expect, how to remit fees and more at fcgov.com/plastics-business-resources.

Ask a question...

Have a question about plastic pollution laws, bag fees, and/or bans? Ask it here!

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Page last updated: 05 Dec 2022, 12:00 PM