Although the Plastic Pollution Reduction Act was passed in Colorado in 2021, the new year caught some shoppers by surprise. Effective January 1, 2023, the new law now requires all stores in Colorado to charge customers 10 cents for every plastic or paper bag provided. The complete ban of single-use plastic bags statewide will take effect in 2024. Keep in mind, the current bag fee does not apply to anyone who can show they receive federal or state food assistance programs.

With a strict timeline, some larger corporations like Walmart are starting early and no longer offer plastic or paper bags for purchase, only reusable bags.

However, some companies have been leading the trend for years now. Wholesale stores like Costco or Sam’s Club always offer shopping carts to transport groceries from store to car. Retailers like Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s take the lead by providing paper or reusable bags only. In addition, IKEA has remained plastic-bag-free since 2008.

Instead of scrambling for a bag at check-out, here are five alternatives to help break your dependence on plastic.

Stock Up on Reusable Bags

As the availability of plastic bags dwindles, you can never have too many reusable bags around the house. From canvas to fabric, these totes are reliable and, more importantly, reusable. Also, many stores are selling a plethora of affordable totes with different designs to match your style. 

Repurpose Unused Storage Totes

For bulkier items like toilet paper or cereal boxes, having a couple of storage boxes with lids in your back seat to help the transfer of free-floating items into your home. Though some of these totes may be made from plastic, their shelf life is much longer than that of a grocery store bag.

When In Doubt, Choose Biodegradable

Some companies, like Home Depot or Lowe’s offer biodegradable paper bags. This way, if your reusable paper bag gets destroyed, it can be decomposed along with your compost.  

Discover Vegetable Fiber Bags

Jute bags are 100% recyclable materials typically made from natural leafy vegetables that prove to be highly durable and versatile. As these bags become more popular, they can be found at local retailers like Target or customizable shops on Etsy. 

Think Outside The (Eco-Friendly) Box

Small plastic bags are easily replaced by mason jars and beeswax wrappers when it comes to loose produce or smaller items like nuts, rice and beans. Though these household items may be hard to get used to after a lifetime of sandwich bags and Tupperware, starting small will make for a seamless transition in the long run.

While there is a constant battle regarding recycling, it remains top of mind for significant contributors and lawmakers.

FirstBank strives to foster sustainability and help preserve our ecosystem. To learn more, check out 8 Ways FirstBank is Helping The Planet, and After Planting 50,000 Trees, FirstBank Introduces Recycle Ocean Bound Plastic Cards at

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