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Vail to consider changes to disposable bag regulations

Colorado Plastic Pollution Reduction Act goes into effect Jan. 1

Starting Jan. 1, 2023, there will be a 10-cent fee on all plastic and paper bags in Colorado.
Liz Copan/Summit Daily archive

In response to the statewide Plastic Pollution Reduction Act, which goes into effect Jan. 1, 2023, the town of Vail is proposing changes to its existing disposable bag regulations. The Vail Town Council will consider first reading of Ordinance No. 23 during its Dec. 6 evening meeting. The action is listed as 7.2 on the meeting agenda, which begins at 6 p.m. in the Town Council Chambers at 75. S. Frontage Road in Vail.

Public comments will be accepted in person or virtually by registering at VailGov.com/town-council, or in advance of the meeting by emailing publicinput.vailtowncouncil@vailgov.com. A livestream of the meeting will be available at HighFiveMedia.org/Live-Five and on Facebook at Facebook.com/HighFiveAccessMedia.   

The four main components of the Plastic Pollution Reduction Act include:



Plastic and paper bag fee

Going into effect on Jan. 1, 2023, will be a 10-cent fee statewide on all plastic and paper bags. A municipality may raise the fee higher by resolution or ordinance. 

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Vail is proposing an increase to its existing 10 cents per bag fee to 25 cents per bag. The fee would be paid by customers and partially remitted to the town by all retailers with their monthly sales tax. State law requires the fee be split, with at least 40% going to the business. The ordinance before the council will ask that 60% of the bag fees stay with the business. The town’s portion of the fee will continue to fund recycling and waste diversion programs. 

Plastic bag ban 

A ban on plastic carryout bags goes into effect statewide on Jan. 1, 2024. The ban affects large grocery and retail stores. Disposable paper bags made from 100% recycled content can still be distributed with the bag fee.



Existing regulations in Vail already ban single-use plastic bags at grocers 4,000 square feet and larger. 

Ban on polystyrene food containers and cups 

A ban on polystyrene to-go food containers and cups goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2024. The ban applies to all restaurants, schools, and any retailer or grocer that provides to-go food. 

Local government pre-emption on plastic bans lifted 

Starting July 1, 2024, municipalities and counties can enact, implement and enforce more stringent laws which prohibit, restrict or mandate the use or sale of plastic materials, containers, packaging, or labeling. Exemptions include packaging for medical products including drugs, medical devices or dietary supplements. 

In addition, the Plastic Pollution Reduction Act has exemptions for restaurants and Colorado-based small stores with three or fewer locations. As proposed, Ordinance No. 23 will close this loophole and apply the fees in 2023 and bans in 2024 to all stores. Food retail establishments other than grocers or convenience stores will remain exempt if they prepare or serve food in individual portions for immediate consumption.  

For more information, including logistics for business implementation, contact Environmental Sustainability Manager Beth Markham at bmarkham@vailgov.com or at 970-479-2333.   


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