Gov. Polis signs groundbreaking single-use plastic bill into law

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Colorado becomes the first state to strike down a state preemption law, restoring the right of local municipalities to enact their own plastic regulations


DENVER –  As states across the country continue to tackle the single-use plastic waste crisis, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed on Tuesday the landmark Plastic Pollution Reduction Act into law. The law will phase out single-use plastic bags, polystyrene cups and containers, and reverse a law that prohibits municipalities from passing their own ordinances to address plastic waste.

CoPIRG has been a key architect of Colorado’s Plastic Pollution Reduction Act, beginning years ago with an effort to eliminate single-use polystyrene to-go containers. Over the years, CoPIRG has educated the public on Colorado’s low recycling rates, driven partly by so many nonrecyclable single-use plastics, participated in rallies and youth lobby days, and knocked on tens of thousands of doors building up support across Colorado for action. 

With Gov. Polis’ signature, Colorado would become the tenth state legislature to ban single-use plastic shopping bags in certain stores and the eighth to ban foam food containers, and the first state in the country to reverse municipal preemption.

In a statement, CoPIRG Executive Director Danny Katz said:

“Nothing we use once should pollute our state for hundreds of years. The Plastic Pollution Reduction Act will phase out some of the worst single-use plastics and we applaud the Colorado General Assembly and Governor Polis for taking action. As the first interior state to enact comprehensive plastic pollution legislation, Colorado is helping to build momentum to phase out unnecessary and wasteful single-use plastics across the country. 

Colorado is also the first state to repeal a law that denied local governments the ability to regulate plastic pollution in their communities. I hope this groundbreaking step leads to more states removing the restrictions that tie the hands of their local governments and allows our cities to be leaders in reducing unnecessary plastic waste.”