Colorado Banning Plastic Bags; Wyoming Not Likely to Follow Suit

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Colorado lawmakers decided this week to pass a new law banning plastic single-use bags in the state, however, Wyoming likely won’t be joining the bandwagon anytime soon.

Under the new bill, Colorado will charge people 10 cents per paper or plastic bag used at most grocery stores, retailers and restaurants beginning in 2023. The ban on single-use plastic bags and foam containers often used for takeout food will begin in 2024.

This is actually cheaper than the fee charged by the City of Jackson, Wyoming, 20 cents, for paper or reusable plastic bags for customers who are in need of them.

Jackson implemented its plastic bag ban in 2019 in an attempt to curb the amount of waste created in the city. Rep. Mike Yin, D-Jackson, told Cowboy State Daily this week that he thought it was unlikely Wyoming will adopt a statewide ban.

“I won’t be proposing one, and I suspect no other legislator will be proposing a statewide ban as well if I was a betting man,” Yin said.

Single-use plastics have become controversial in recent years due to the fact they do not biodegrade for hundreds of years. Much of that plastic ends up in the ocean, harming the sea life and water.

Other cities in Wyoming besides Jackson have begun discussions about plastic bag bans, but none of them have gone into effect as of yet. In January 2020, the Laramie City Council unanimously voted to approve a resolution to diminish and regulate retail-use plastic bag waste within the city.

The council intended to create and implement an education program to reduce plastic ban usage, although this was likely affected by the coronavirus pandemic hitting two months later.

However, the council intends to use data collected during the education campaign to determine whether an ordinance implementing a plastic bag fee or a ban was necessary or desired within the city.

There were supporters of a proposal to discuss a plastic bag ban in Cheyenne last year, but again, the discussion was hindered by the pandemic.

Eight states, including California, Oregon, Maine and New York, have also banned single-use plastic bags.

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