Colorado bans polystyrene to-go packaging

The law goes into effect next year for restaurants, but school foodservice facilities have longer to comply.
clamshell packaging
Photo: Shutterstock

Eateries in Colorado are required under a bill signed into law on Tuesday to phase out their use of polystyrene food containers or face a fine.

The ban on foam-style clamshells and other to-go packaging begins Jan. 1, 2022, but restaurants will be permitted after that date to use up any remaining inventory of polystyrene containers. A fine of $500 will be levied for a second infraction, and the penalty doubles to $1,000 for a third violation.

Foodservice facilities operating in most schools are exempted from the ban until Jan. 1, 2024, and high school operations have until Jan. 1, 2025, to comply.

The bill signed into law yesterday by Gov. Jared Polis also aims to phase out the use of single-use shopping bags, but restaurants are expressly exempted from that provision.

The legislation is intended to cut litter and encourage the use of biodegradable packaging materials. It was passed by the state legislature along party lines, with no yea votes from Republicans.

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