Anchorage plastic bag ban takes effect — What you need to know

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) — Plastic bags are out, and paper bags will now cost Anchorage shoppers as the municipality's plastic bag ban takes effect Sunday.

The Anchorage Assembly passed the ordinance banning plastic bags in August, 2018 by a vote of 9-2. Originally set to take effect on March 1 this year, the assembly passed an amendment in December pushing back the effective date until Sept. 15 to allow retailers time to adjust to the changes.

Now, shoppers are encouraged to bring bags of their own.

According to the municipal ordinance, sellers may provide non-plastic bags, such as paper, at a minimum cost of $0.10 per bag up to a maximum of $0.50 per transaction, and charges for paper bags must be separately itemized on the receipt.

Reusable bags designed for repeated use may be sold by retailers or provided to customers free of charge.

According to the municipality website, the prohibition doesn't apply to a plastic bag that is:

  • Used by customers inside stores to contain a product that does not have other packaging, including bulk foods, fruits, nuts, vegetables, bakery goods, etc.

  • Used to contain dampness or leaks from items such as frozen foods, meat or fish;
    Used only to contain ice

  • Used only to contain or wrap flowers or potted plants

  • Provided by a pharmacist for the sole purpose of containing prescription drugs

  • Used only to package an unconsumed portion of a bottle of wine

  • Used only to contain a newspaper, laundry, or dry cleaning

  • Sold in packages containing multiple bags intended for consumer use off the retail seller’s premises, such as for the collection and disposal of garbage, pet waste, or dog waste

The ordinance lays out a fine schedule for businesses of a warning for a first offense, $250 per violation for a second offense, and $500 per violation for third and subsequent offenses.

Anchorage is the latest Alaska community to ban plastic bags, following the approval of bans in Wasilla, Palmer, Kodiak, and several other local towns and municipalities around the state.

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