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Posted on: March 15, 2023

City of Aspen expands restrictions on single-use carryout bags


City of Aspen expands restrictions on single-use carryout bags

New ordinance takes effect on May 1

Aspen, Colo. – March 15  –  Aspen City Council this week approved an ordinance that expands restrictions of single-use, carryout bags.

The ordinance, which affects as many as 80 local businesses, is effective May 1, 2023.

The Colorado General Assembly in 2021 enacted House Bill 21-1162 Plastic Pollution Reduction Act (PPRA) to manage the distribution of single-use materials such as plastic and polystyrene in the state. 

The City’s Ordinance 6 amends the existing municipal code and expands upon current single-use plastic bag restrictions and fees in Aspen. The amendments include additional requirements of the PPRA that will be phased in over the coming years, throughout the state. 

While the PPRA requires all applicable stores in Colorado to charge a $0.10 fee on all single-use, carryout bags starting Jan. 1, 2023, the City of Aspen’s ordinance increases the PPRA’s $0.10 per bag fee to align with the existing code, raising the fee to $0.20 per bag; retailers will remit $0.16 per bag to the City. 

Remitted fees will be used for administrative, enforcement costs and costs associated with any recycling, composting, or other waste diversion programs and activities. The revenue collected from the $0.20 single-use bag fees is transferred to the City monthly and are allocated to a Waste Reduction Fee fund only to be used for specialized waste reduction projects. This revenue supports projects including the annual purchasing of reusable bags for free distribution around the city and hosting the free electronic waste collection event for individuals to recycle their electronics.

The City’s ordinance affects large grocers; businesses with more than three facilities in Colorado; businesses with a store outside of Colorado (for example: if you have one store in Colorado and one store in New Mexico, this applies to you, regardless of having less than three in Colorado). The ordinance does not apply to restaurants.

Starting on Jan. 1, 2024, the PPRA prohibits the distribution of single-use plastic carryout bags in the state of Colorado. Applicable stores will then be required to use recycled paper carryout bags made from 100% recycled content as the carryout bag alternative. In addition, the PPRA also will prohibit retail food establishments from distributing expanded polystyrene, Styrofoam, as a container for ready-to-eat foods.

Since 2012, the year after Council prohibited the distribution of single-use plastic carryout bags at the two grocery stores in the City of Aspen - City Market and Clarks Market - the single-use plastic bag restrictions have avoided 2.7 million plastic bags from being distributed in Aspen.

Landfilling waste accounts for 16% of the City of Aspen’s 2020 community greenhouse gas emissions. Council has set bold goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in its efforts to reduce carbon by 100% and reduce overall waste 70% by 2050.

For more informationVisit

Have questions? Email: or call Jimena Baldino at (970) 319-8177.



Jimena Baldino, Waste Diversion and Recycling Specialist, City of Aspen,, or 1-970-319-8177

Carolyn Sackariason, Communications Coordinator, City of Aspen, or 1-970-319-2791

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