Denver Carryout Bag Fee Starts July 1

Date: June 22, 2021

NFIB members in the city urged to see if it applies to them

Starting July 1, Denver merchants must start charging their customers 10¢ for each disposable bag they issue, under its Bring Your Own Bag Program.

Not all businesses are affected. In its Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section, the city gives the answers to three of the most important questions:

How much is the fee?
The fee is 10 cents per disposable bag (plastic, paper, or other material including but not limited to compostable material) provided at the checkout. 

What stores are required to collect the bag fee?
The fee must be charged by all retail stores within Denver that sell personal consumer goods, household items, or groceries. Examples of the types of stores that are required to charge the fee include but are not limited to: convenience stores, department stores, retail chain stores, hardware stores, liquor stores, and grocery stores. 

“Which stores are not required to collect the bag fee?
Restaurants, beauty salons, auto mechanics, and other businesses where retail sales are not the primary business activity are not required to charge the bag fee. Temporary vendors or events such as farmer’s markets are also exempt, as are marijuana dispensaries which use paper bags of a size smaller than those covered by this ordinance.”

For the Record

Denver’s action is a local initiative. NFIB opposed a similar state legislative effort, House Bill 1162. Argued NFIB Colorado State Director Tony Gagliardi, “House Bill 1162 wouldn’t institute a ban, but it would lift the prohibition on local governments from having their own bans on certain plastic products, and polystyrene, which is worse because we’d be left with a crazy-quilt of unmanageable rules and regulations to comply with. At a time when every, single aspect of running an enterprise needs to be unfettered if we’re ever to economically recover, a plastics ban is a needless idea coming at the worst possible moment.”

The Legislature passed HB 1162 and will transmit it to Gov. Jared Polis for his expected signature.

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