Crested Butte's Disposable Plastic Bag Prohibition & HB21-1162: Colorado's Plastic Pollution Reduction Act


What is the Colorado Plastic Pollution Reduction Act (PPRA)?

HB21-1162, more commonly known as the Colorado Plastic Pollution Reduction Act, or PPRA, affects Colorado retail businesses and retail food establishments, and is implemented in two phases. Phase 1 dictates that effective January 1st, 2023, retailers with more than 3 locations in Colorado OR more than 1 location outside of Colorado could no longer purchase plastic bags to distribute to customers and were required to charge a $0.10 fee per bag for both plastic and paper. Retailers were given until Jan 1st, 2024 to use up their stores of plastic bags. Phase 2 (described in the next section) placed bans on plastic bags and polystyrene (more commonly known as Styrofoam®) containers.


Crested Butte's Disposable Plastic Bag Prohibition & the PPRA

HB21-1162 was passed in 2021 to address plastic bag and Styrofoam pollution. However, Crested Butte has had a disposable plastic bag prohibition in effect since September 1st, 2018Chapter 7, Sec. 7-6-10  of the Town Code states, "Commencing September 1, 2018, disposable plastic bags shall not be used, retail or wholesale, within Town limits by any business. Commencing September 1, 2018, non-permitted paper bags shall not be used, retail or wholesale, within Town limits by any business, and only permitted paper bags may be used." The Town of Crested Butte enforces the PPRA's $0.10 fee per bag for approved paper bags within town limits. More information can be found under Chapter 7 of the Town Code.


Phase 2: What's new with the PPRA in 2024? 


Styrofoam Ban


Also effective January 1st, 2024, all retail food establishments are prohibited from distributing polystyrene foam (more commonly known as Styrofoam®) food and beverage containers. Food establishments are allowed to use up remaining inventory of polystyrene foam cups and food containers after January 1, 2024, until supplies are depleted. New polystyrene food and beverage containers should not be purchased after January 1, 2024 (sourced from Eco-Cycle).


Plastic Bag Ban

Effective January 1st, 2024, retailers with more than 3 locations in Colorado can no longer purchase or distribute plastic bags. Paper bags are still allowed, but the $0.10 fee remains for paper bags. As mentioned above, this is not new to Crested Butte. Plastic disposable bags have been prohibited since 2018. In Crested Butte, paper bags must be manufactured from at least 40% recycled content and must be 100% recyclable.

Further plastic pollution legislation

As of July 1st, 2024, local governments are able to enact more stringent laws to manage or restrict plastics. The Town of Crested Butte will be exploring potential opportunities to further reduce plastic pollution within town limits. 


Who does the Styrofoam® ban affect?

The polystyrene ban affects all retail food establishments, which are defined as "businesses that prepare or package food for human consumption either directly or through a delivery service; the food can be eaten on or off the premises of the food establishment, including:

  • Restaurants
  • Fast food establishments
  • Cafeterias
  • Schools*
  • Prisons"

*Schools are encouraged to move away from Styrofoam, but the PPRA stipulates that the law cannot be enforced against schools that do not comply. See the image to the top left of this page for a current list of exempt establishments.