Lawmakers to discuss bills banning single-use plastics at restaurants

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DENVER (KDVR) — Restaurant owners, activists and environmentalists will rally at the Colorado State Capitol Monday ahead of a house committee meeting where lawmakers are scheduled to discuss two bills that would ban single-use plastics at restaurants across the state.

Restaurant owners, lawmakers, activists, recycling businesses and environmental groups plan to rally inside the State Capitol at 11:30 a.m., hoping their message will encourage lawmakers to help the bills banning single-use plastics progress through committee and to the house for a vote.

On Monday, lawmakers inside the House Energy and Environment Committee will discuss bills HB20-1162 and HB20-1163.

Under HB20-1162, restaurants would be prohibited from using takeout containers made of expanded polystyrene product, a lightweight styrofoam material commonly used in the food service industry. If passed, it would ban the use of expanded polystyrene product beginning January 1, 2022.

Under HB20-1163, stores and retail food establishments would be prohibited from providing single-use plastic carryout bags, single-use plastic stirrers, single-use plastic straws, and expanded polystyrene food service products after January 1, 2022. If a customer wants a carryout bag, the bill would require it be paper and not plastic. A customer would be charged an additional 10 cents for the bag.

Supporters say single-use plastics are a threat to wildlife, they’re inefficient, wasteful and not economical to recycle. Supporters believe the bills will help reduce trash in Colorado communities.

Earlier this legislative session, lawmakers introduced a bill focused on giving local cities and counties the ability to phase-out single-use plastics. Under the proposed law, it would remove the cap that prohibits Colorado cities and counties from taking action. During the Senate Committee on Local Government on February 4, lawmakers voted to postpone the bill indefinitely.

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