Bag Fee: Frequently Asked Questions
Click the tabs below to find answers to the most frequently asked questions regarding the bag fee mandated by Colorado State House Bill 21-1162 and how it applies to businesses operating in the Town of Johnstown.
The state law applies to large retail stores. Stores (large retail) means a:
- Grocery store
- Convenience store
- Liquor store
- Dry cleaner
- Drug store
- Clothing store
- Farmers' market, roadside market, stand, festival or other temporary vendors
- Other types of retail establishments at which carryout bags are traditionally provided to customers
- Small stores (those with three or fewer locations operating solely in Colorado, not part of a franchise, corporation, or partnership that has physical locations outside of Colorado)
Carryout bag means a new bag (single-use plastic or 100% recycled paper) that is furnished to a customer at a store at the point of sale for use by the customer to transport or carry purchased items.
Carryout bag does NOT include:
- A bag made of paper when the paper has a basis weight of thirty pounds or less
- A bag that a pharmacy provides to a customer purchasing prescription medication
- A bag that a customer uses inside a store to:
- Package loose or bulk items, such as fruit, vegetables, nuts, grains, candy or greeting cards
- Nails, bolts, screws or other hardware items
- Live insects, fish, crustaceans, mollusks, or other small species
- Bulk seed, bulk livestock feed, or bulk pet feed
- Contain or wrap frozen foods, meat, seafood, fish, flowers, potted plants, or other items that if they were to come into contact with other items, could dampen or contaminate the other items
- Contain unwrapped prepared foods or bakery goods
- A laundry, dry cleaning, or garment bag
The fee is 10-cents ($.10) per carryout bag. Customer receipts must show the number of carryout bags provided and the total amount charged for carryout bags. Retailers may not refund any part of the carryout bag fee. Retailers may not exempt any customer from any part of the carryout bag fee unless the customer presents at the time proof of participation in a federal or state food assistance program.
- Customers that provide evidence to the store that the customer is a participant in a federal or state food assistance program
- Customers that are using reusable bags
- Customers that request not to receive a carryout bag
- Customers that are reusing plastic or paper checkout bags
The carryout bag fee is reported quarterly and based on a standard calendar year. The State law requires retailers report the bag fee to the Town each quarter, but payment of the fee isn’t required until after April 1, 2024. This means a retailer must report bag fee returns for quarters one through four, 2023, but payment of those bag fees is not required until April 1, 2024. Please be aware that the first quarter 2024 bag fees must also be reported and paid by April 1, 2024. Retailers can voluntarily choose to start paying the bag fee earlier commencing with the first quarter 2023 return, due by April 1, 2023.
The State law allows retailers that collect less than twenty dollars ($20) in carryout bag fees per quarter to hold those fees until a later date. The retailer should retain those collected fees until it has more than twenty dollars total worth of collected fees and then remit those fees as part of the next quarterly remittance.
Starting January 1, 2024, plastic bags will no longer be allowed in the affected retail stores and polystyrene food containers will be banned from use in all stores with no exceptions. Bags that are made from 100% recycled paper will continue to be allowed at the point of sale if the customer pays the ten-cent ($.10) carryout bag fee.
The Town is permitted to use revenues from the bag fees for:
- Administration of the bag program
- Recycling, composting and other waste diversion programs
- Outreach and education programs