Pushback from state Republicans, plastic industry lobbyists, and some in the business community weakened several aspects of the bill.
One big change is that small stores, which the state describes as any business with three or fewer locations, are now exempt from the ban and can continue to use plastic bags if they are not prohibited by their municipality.
State Rep. Lisa Cutter, a Jefferson County Democrat who co-sponsored the bill, said she was disappointed by the change, which came during negotiations on the Senate floor.
“It removes a significant portion of stores,” said Cutter, who could not estimate how many would be exempt. “Many, many small businesses want to be part of the solution.”
Pharmacies and dry cleaners can continue to use plastic bags, according to the bill. The bags can also be used to wrap frozen foods, meat, seafood, plants and bulk goods that would otherwise be contaminated.
This leaves major grocery stores and supermarkets, convenience and liquor stores, retailers and other places where plastic shopping bags are commonly used subject to the ban, according to the bill.
A clause initially struck by the legislature would allow municipalities to enforce bans that are stricter than the state’s, starting in July 2024.
The Colorado Restaurant Association opposed this clause, saying it would confuse restaurant owners about what rules they had to follow.