The Ban on Plastic Bags: Bill HB21-1162 [OPINION]

The Ban on Plastic Bags: Bill HB21-1162 [OPINION]

Three years ago on March 3rd, 2021, the Management Of Plastic Products bill, HB21-1162, was introduced. Four months later on July 6th, it became a law, and on January 1st, 2024, the plastic ban section of the bill went into full effect.

This bill was proposed to limit the plastic waste of Coloradans. A large factor for this is that Colorado has a terrible recycling rate of only 11%, which is almost a third of the national average of 32%. This makes Colorado the 10th worst state regarding recycling according to PRNewswire.

After this bill passed, businesses had to charge an ordinance fee of 10 cents for single-use plastic bags on January 1st, 2023. Then at the start of 2024, businesses were forbidden to hand out single-use plastic bags, unless there was remaining stock from before January 1st, 2024, and only then a customer would pay a fee of 10 cents per plastic bag. 

The replacement for plastic bags was required to be paper bags or reusable bags that had been recycled and charged the same or more than plastic bags. 60% of the revenue from the plastic bags would be required to be given to the Municipality or County in which the store was located.

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On the surface, this is a huge win for the environment and Colorado’s embarrassing recycling rate. However, this bill would have tremendous effects on businesses throughout Colorado such as Target and Walmart, but it will have even greater effects on local and small business owners. 

According to the New York Times, a single plastic bag costs around 1 cent, while a paper bag costs 4-5 cents. This may seem like a little, but when buying hundreds or thousands of bags, the costs begin to accumulate.

Even if business owners charged 10 cents per bag, they would be losing money since  60% of the profits that come from the bags go to their local government.

Local business owners were also given a hard time transitioning to paper bags. Some businesses didn’t even provide any bags for a few days after plastic bags were banned.

This could also be seen in a positive light. Local governments would be incentivized to increase the fees of paper bags in order to make more money. This would make business owners more money and also make people avoid buying disposable bags.

Deterring people from using store-provided bags could allow for less people to be reliant on expandable bags, but instead push people to use their own bags. 

Reducing the waste created from any disposable bag is beneficial, but having paper bags is still far better than a plastic bag, which could end up in Colorado’s waters or even the ocean.

Colorado is taking the right steps to help clean the environment, and should continue to do so for further improvement to our community.

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Hayne Kang, Graphic Designer
Grade: I am in 11th grade. Years on Staff: This is my third year on staff. What are you looking forward to most: I'm looking forward to creating graphics for the Chronicle. What is your favorite personality trait: I'm quite helpful.

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