Bring Your Own Bag Program

Bring Your Bag. Keep Your Change. Bag fees ad

To reduce the number of disposable carryout bags used, littered, and landfilled, Denver is introducing a fee on disposable bags and the Bring Your Own Bag program. The program encourages shoppers to switch to reusable bags and requires retail stores in Denver to charge 10 cents for each disposable bag (plastic, paper, or other material including but not limited to compostable material) provided to customers at checkout starting on July 1, 2021. 

Together we can reduce waste, prevent litter, and protect our rivers and streams. 

What you need to know:

  • Retail stores located in Denver will be required to charge 10 cents per carryout bag.
  • Shoppers can avoid the bag fee by bringing their own bags. 
  • The bag fee will not apply to some bags such as those used to package bulk items, produce, meat, or fish.  
  • Participants in state and federal Food Assistance Programs will not be charged for carryout bags.  
  • Charges for bags must be displayed separately on customer receipts.  
  • Portions of the bag fee will be kept by the store to cover the cost of implementing the program and by the city to address the impacts of disposable bags and single-use products in our community.
  • The City of Denver and its partners will give away reusable bags while supplies last starting in June 2021.  
  • For more details about the Bring Your Own Bag program, please review our Frequently Asked Questions for shoppers and retailers.   
  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), "The risk of infection by the virus from food products, food packaging, or bags is thought to be very low." For more information, visit the Reusable Bag Safety section.  

Find Answers To Your Most Frequently Asked Questions

How To Get a Reusable Bag

The City of Denver and its partners will give away reusable bags while supplies last. 

Giveaway Events:

More events will be added throughout the summer as they are scheduled, so check back for updates.  

Giveaway Sites:

Please contact your City Council District Office to schedule a time to pick up reusable bags.

Reusable Bag Safety

Reusable Bag Safety

The CDC has found that transmission of the SARS-CoV2 virus from bags and other packaging surfaces to be very low. By the time the bag fee goes into effect on July 1, 2021, many people over the age of 16 in Denver will have been fully vaccinated, further reducing the risk of transmission. The Denver Department of Public Health & Environment has not instituted any health restrictions on the use or handling of reusable bags by consumers or retail employees, and no future restrictions to that effect are expected.  Additional information can be found in this study by the National Institutes of Health.

As an added precaution, consumers can consider washing reusable bags between uses with mild soap and warm water, but the better control for the transmission of the virus and other harmful germs from objects touched by others is frequent handwashing with soap and hot water, particularly before touching one’s face or eating.

Learn about cleaning and disinfecting reusable bags

Reusable Bag Tips

The best bag is a reusable bag that you already have and use for years and years.  If you need a bag, then choose one that is durable to avoid having to buy a replacement, and make sure that you can wash it regularly.  Consider bags made from reused or recycled content material.

Tips for Remembering Reusable Bags:

  • Write “Bring Bags” at the top of your grocery list and put your bags with your list.
  • Post a reminder note by your door.
  • Hang your bags by your door or put them back in your car or bike basket as soon as you empty and clean them.
  • Store or clip an extra bag in your purse or backpack.
  • Keep a spare bag at work.
  • Put your coupons in your bag.
  • Put a reminder in your phone to bring your bags if you regularly shop on a set day of the week.