Denver City Council Proposes Single-Use Bag Fee

December 4, 2019

Councilwoman Kendra Black and Councilwoman Debbie Ortega have put forth an ordinance that would require retail stores to charge customers 10 cents for single-use plastic and paper bags. The bill, which passed unanimously through City Council’s Finance and Governance Committee on Tuesday, December 3, intends to instill more sustainable habits in shoppers citywide.

The Downtown Denver Partnership’s Downtown Denver, Inc. Board of Directors took an official position of support, citing the proposal’s alignment with the Partnership’s efforts to build a more sustainable city.

“The Downtown Denver Partnership represents over 700 downtown businesses in the largest business district in the Rocky Mountain region,” said Tami Door, President and CEO of the Downtown Denver Partnership, “a core value of the Partnership is building a greener Denver with a focus on sustainable use of resources. We thank Denver City Council for moving this important proposal forward.”

Should the proposal pass, a $0.10 fee would be placed on all single-use plastic and paper bags starting July 1, 2020. Of that fee, $0.06 would go to the City for education, enforcement, and promotion, and the other $0.04 would stay with the retailer, allowing for systematic changes and promotion needed for implementation.

This ordinance follows those of 11 other municipalities in Colorado and 400 cities nationwide, including statewide bag legislation in eight states, including California and Oregon. Boulder implemented a similar ordinance in 2012 and since, the use of single-use bags has dropped by 68%.

The proposed ordinance will go to the full Denver City Council on Monday, December 16 (to include a public hearing), followed by a second reading and final vote on Monday, December 23.