What is the Disposable Bag Ordinance?

    The Disposable Bag Ordinance was passed by City Council in February of 2021 and affirmed by voters in the April 2021 election. The full Ordinance can be viewed here.

    The Fort Collins Disposable Bag Ordinance bans plastic bags and puts a 12-cent fee on paper bags at large Fort Collins grocers starting May 1, 2022. 

    Customers who are recipients of income-qualified assistance programs (for example, SNAP and WIC, among others) do not have to pay the 12-cent fee for paper bags.

    The paper bag fees will be used by grocers for things like staff training and signage and the rest will go to the City of Fort Collins to support further efforts to reduce plastic pollution, reduce waste, and increase efforts to reduce, reuse, and recycle!


    What will people do who can't afford to pay the paper bag fee?

    Customers who are part of income-qualified assistance programs and can show a benefit card, for example for SNAP and WIC (other programs also valid), do not have to pay the 12-cent fee on paper bags.

    The City of Fort Collins will also be distributing free reusable bags to the community, prioritizing low and moderate income families first. Customers can also check online groups that share items for free or get them at low cost from local thrift stores. 

    If these options would not help you but you have an idea for what would, contact us at recycling@fcgov.com


    Where will the paper bag fee go?

    The Ordinance splits the paper bag fee 50-50 between the grocer and the City of Fort Collins. The portion of the fee kept by the grocer will be used for things like training employees, reusable bag promotion, and signage. The portion of the fee that goes to the City of Fort Collins will support efforts to reduce plastic pollution, decrease waste, and help Fort Collins reduce, reuse and recycle.

    Why do the new rules only apply to large retail grocers?

    Large grocer distribute a lot of plastic bags meaning that the new rules can cover a lot of ground through this one intervention. Many large grocers have already made this changes in other locations across the country and have the experience to make the switch here too. 

    What impact will the State of Colorado’s Plastic Pollution Reduction Act (HB21-1162) have in Fort Collins?

    Colorado’s Plastic Pollution Reduction Act (HB21-1162) that was passed in Summer of 2021 also addresses plastic bags and goes further to include polystyrene (also know by the brand name Styrofoam) food containers. The State's Bill has different timelines for when changes take effect, what types of stores will be impacted, etc. but some of the key concepts are the same - plastic bags will be banned at stores and a fee will be charged for each paper bag. For a more detailed comparison, click here to read a recent update memo to City Council.