Old Bags & New Charges

Herb’s Blog, Herbdate 22998 – 1062

Here’s the haps:

Well, 2023 has brought with it changes this year already. Colorado’s Democrat-controlled government has passed CO HB21-1162, Management Of Plastic Products which has gone into effect and is guaranteed to be costly and outright annoying.

Retail stores will now be charging ten cents per single-use bag or you can bring your own reusable bag. This is supposed to help reduce litter and fight pollution. So all the stores in our state are required to stop using single-use plastic bags and make people use reusable bags. This first year they can still provide you a single-use bag for a charge of 10 cents. Interestingly to me, the 10-cent charge is divided up as 60% going to the municipality the store is in and the store is able to keep 40% to use as they see fit. No store offers a 4-cent refund, however, or sells a bag for 6 cents.

Oh well, such is life, I suppose. Gone are the days of tying a string to one and letting your kid fly it like a kite. Gone also are the days of free trashcan liners. My granddaughter would iron them and make them into scrapbook pages somehow. Gone also are those halcyon days of yore when you were asked, “Paper or plastic?”

I can recall when there were no plastic bags. Long before the days of Tetris, being a grocery store bagger was a skill. A lot would fit in those paper sacks if packed just right and believe you me the average customer could tell you how to do it if you messed up. And God forbid you should put a bar of soap in the same bag with a box of cereal! Calls for the manager, complaining that you were trying to poison their babies, would ensue. The paper bags were perfect for cutting apart and laying on the kitchen counter and putting hot chocolate chip cookies on. You could, with more effort, make kites out of them, as well. And use them for trash. Biodegradable and compostable. Costumes for skits, book covers, cat habitats, and something to put over your friend’s head who just looked better that way.

Of course, many retail grocers have gotten away from bagging groceries for you at all or even cashiering for you. No more friendly (or pseudo-friendly) face-to-face interactions with other people. Shopping becomes more and more of a chore as now I also have to remember the bags or pay the price when I get there.

Not only that, but now I have to start buying garbage bags, too. And let me tell you, as a cashier I would cringe when a customer had their own bags. I hated to touch them as they were often covered in dog or cat hair and whatever other dirt and grime was brought with them from people’s houses. I would have never allowed them if I had a choice.

Choice? A person used to have several choices and if reusing or reusable was something they believed in, they could do it while I chose paper. But the government doesn’t want you to have any choice.

In a comment on a different post, J.P. said, “How true about our fathers getting wiser as we age. Mine said that congress should only be allowed to be in session for 30 days a year. That would be enough time to do the necessities and then they would leave us alone.”


  1. They passed a cost on plastic bags here a year or two ago. About an equivilent of 70 cents. And I agree, it’s annoying because we usually use our plastic grocery bags as trash bags and now we have to buy trash bags. Sometimes I just pay it, but it does get me to bring my own cloth bag. (We bag our own groceries in Europe.) Paper bags are cheaper (about 30 cents), but I learned the hard way that when it’s snowing or raining, it breaks and all the groceries fall out!

  2. All I can tell you from the UK is that, whilst in no way curing the problem, the airborne litter in the countryside and along road verges is substantially reduced since we passed similar laws. Almost everyone now carries a ‘bag for life’. I’ve got a car boot full – but then I have been known to shop at Lidl…

    • That is interesting. I have to make a new habit for myself. I have a D-Ring that I will run the handles through and then throw them in the car. It’s after I go shopping that I don’t put them back after bringing the groceries in which is the problem.

  3. What they really need to control is people’s wanton disregard for littering. That would also likely be impossible, because so many do not think it a problem when they simply toss stuff out the car window. Welcome back Herb. Allan

    • Thanks, Allan. Yes, changing the litterbug’s mindset is what really needs to happen and we have tried that for a very long time. My wife has been known to go up to strangers and ask them to please pick up their trash.

  4. Just wondering if anyone has analyzed the “carbon footprint” for the making and life-use of a cloth bag??!!
    Long ago I concluded that every “solution” to a problem with which humans come up creates a new set of problems. Look at ANY legal solution and you can see at least some of the unintended consequences.
    A very sharp Navy lawyer once told a group of us that every law in every book in every country on the planet was the result of human inability to obey the basic Big Ten.
    ❤️&🙏, c.a.

    • That is an interesting question about the “Carbon Footprint” although the littering arguments actually make sense to me.
      I agree with the basic Big Ten statement. It could fix a lot of things if people followed it.

  5. Plastic bags are still free in most of the places I shop, but there are a few places that either don’t have bags at all or require you to pay for them, so I always keep a few reusable cloth bags in my car for those situations. I made sure before I bought my bags that they were machine washable and dryable, because bags that aren’t washable quickly become petri dishes for all sorts of disgusting and dangerous things. I shudder whenever I see someone using a non-washable bag that has obviously been used many times before. Do they have any idea how dangerous those things are?

  6. We started to bring our own bags here since May last year. At first I tended to forget to bring my own bags in and had to go to the parking lot to retrieve bags, which was annoying. After a while, one gets used to it. I only hope that everything we do right now is good enough for the climate and the earth, and bad weather incidences can go away…

  7. I may be the only person you know who actually bought his own plastic bags in a box of 50 million or something.

    Actually, (and this may surprise you) I find the idea of plastic bags to be kind of repellent. Under the best circumstances they get used 3 or 4 times before getting thrown out, then there is another item buried underground that will never decompose. Paper bags are less convenient, but they are probably better over their entire life cycle.

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