5 things to know about Denver’s Bring Your Own Bag program


Consumers in Denver are now subject to the city's new Bring Your Own Bag Program. Here are the details:


A new ordinance in Denver requires all retail stores to charge a fee of 10 cents for each disposable bag provided at checkout. Denver City Council passed the ordinance on Dec. 23, 2019, and it went into effect on July 1, 2021.


A disposable bag can be plastic, paper or other material, including compostable material. To avoid the fee, consumers can bring their own reusable bag. The fee is only charged when the store gives you a new single-use plastic or paper bag.


Customers who are a participant in a federal or state food assistance program are exempt from the bag fee.


Retail stores subject to the fee include, but are not limited to, convenience stores, department stores, retail chain stores, hardware stores, liquor stores and grocery stores. Restaurants, salons, auto mechanics and other businesses that retail sales are not the primary business activity are not required to charge the bag fee. Paper bags smaller than 7 x 9 inches provided by a marijuana dispensary are exempt as are bags provided by pharmacists that contain prescription drugs. Temporary vendors or events such as farmer’s markets are also exempt.


Of the 10 cents fee per bag, retailers will keep 4 cents and the city will receive 6 cents. The fee is not a tax, and therefore cannot be used for general government expenses. The city’s portion of the fee will be used for Bring Your Own Bag program education, administrative and enforcement costs of the program; as well as free reusable bag giveaways and waste reduction efforts.


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