Anchorage votes to ban plastic bags

September 2, 2018 by  

In a 6-5 vote, the Anchorage Assembly approved a measure banning disposable plastic shopping bags completely from local retailers. The new regulation is a stricter version of bans already in place in some other cities.

The ban is not limited to grocery stories, but includes any commercial or retail business in Anchorage, such as drugstores, pharmacies, and restaurants. The measure also requires retailers of all kinds to charge consumers 10 cents for a paper bag. The Assembly hopes that shoppers will begin taking their own reusable bags to the stores they frequent.

Smaller plastic bags, such as those shoppers use to bag vegetables, fruit, or meat, will still be available for use. In addition, so-called ‘alternative bags’, which are usually made of woven canvas plastic or cloth, and which can be machine washed, can be provided by retailers at no cost to consumers. Only the paper bags will require a charge at the moment. People who are in need, and receiving assistance, such as those on food stamps, will not be charged any fees.

According to the ordinance, retailers will be allowed to keep the money they collect from the fees, or donate it to their chosen nonprofit organization. Organizations that are facing changes like this could use logo design to make sure the bags they distribute are identified clearly.

The ban will go into effect on March 1, 2019.