Alaska Life Hack: Plastic bag ban have you down? Buy by the case at Costco, Amazon


Anchorage residents exasperated by the Municipality’s ban on retail plastic shopping bags have been ordering boxes of them from Amazon, where one can purchase 1,000-count box of “T-shirt bags” for $16.50.

That’s a lot less than the price the Municipality has set for a “legally allowed” paper bag that a grocer may provide you to bundle your items. The city-mandated price is a minimum of 10 cents per paper bag, and stores can charge no more than 50 cents per bag by law.

Government-mandated prices are steep. But at Amazon, your plastic retail-use bags are less than 2 cents apiece.

Must Read Alaska has also spotted them at Costco locally for the same price.

Some shoppers are getting these bags and keeping them in the trunk of their car for the many purposes for which the banned bags have a use — picking up litter, carrying items to ad from the house, and even stuffing a few in their pockets before they head into the grocery store.


According to the Muni’s website, the prohibition doesn’t apply to a plastic bag that is:

  1. Used by customers inside stores to contain a product that does not have other packaging, including bulk foods, fruits, nuts, vegetables, bakery goods, etc.;
  2. Used to contain dampness or leaks from items such as frozen foods, meat or fish;
  3. Used only to contain ice;
  4. Used only to contain or wrap flowers or potted plants;
  5. Provided by a pharmacist for the sole purpose of containing prescription drugs;
  6. Used only to package an unconsumed portion of a bottle of wine;
  7. Used only to contain a newspaper, laundry, or dry cleaning;
  8. 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.

In other words, Costco is not selling bags for the use in retail environments. It is selling bags that the wholesaler believes you are going to use for “garbage, pet waste, or dog waste” as the law allows. The way you choose to use those bags is in the “don’t ask, don’t tell” category.


    • remember back in the 60s it was save the trees and they were going to take or toilet paper away from us and our napkins now they took our plastic bags away but at same time they’re charging us for it What a racket $.50 a bag I want how much money they’re making . I’ll. going to Costco first thing tomorrow and buy 1000 plastic bags and pass them out at the nearest grocery store What about the plastic water bottles juice bottles baby bottles all other plastics? It’s easier to go after the working class.

  1. Retail is down. Shoppers regret they don’t have a bag in their car. I now shop only under duress. I go to the grocery only when I have to because shopping is no longer fun in any way. Anyone in Alaska does not use Baaah as a language. You ( the assembly) picked the wrong constituency to impose this horrible rule. Only Crystal Kennedy did not vote for bag ban. She’s a keeper!

  2. I’m one of those who constantly forgets to bring in a bag and I’m usually in a hurry to get in and out of the store. Therefore, I won’t go out and get my “government approved” bag. Which means I only pick up what I can carry out of the store. Yay! I don’t impulse buy as much. Sorry retailers!

  3. Take a bunch of plastic bags to the store, share them with shoppers.
    It’ll make your day, it’ll their day, and help raise a collective finger to the Peoples Imperial Assembly..
    Works every time…

  4. Up until the infamous bag ban, I brought my own bag and only used the flimsy free bags if I either bought too much or, rarely, forgot my bag. Then there was the comment by an assembly member that if they annoy us enough our behavior will change. This has been a rousing success on my behavior. Now I only buy what I can carry or I take in my own, new and unused, “T-Shirt” (read flimsy bag formerly supplied by the store) and I am now going through more bags than ever! I have to keep a box of them in my vehicle, but I never have to worry about forgetting them. A true success story for the assembly and Chris Constant!

  5. Very good! Have you noticed that the store clerks are in sympathy? I never wanted to carry in my own bag. I purchase cleaning products, food, maybe clothing, light bulbs, batteries, coffee, produce, greeting cards, ink, fish hooks and one of everything in the store eventually. I DO NOT WANT TO CARRY ALL THAT IN ONE BAG! and mix chemicals with dairy products and fresh vegetables?!!! The plastic t-shirt bags are perfect size for handling, sorting, and carrying, from car to house. Far more sanitary.

    I have my box of t-shirt bags. No one is talking about all the plastic cartons everything comes in these days. Those plastic cartons are not biodegradable. And what about the thousands of garbage sacks going to the dump daily.

    All I can figure is….someone is not brave enough or smart enough to tackle big industry. Let industry change their packaging style! The bag ban is subversive. Those who promote the bag ban are systematically tearing down retail and personal lives.

    • The greenies have really screwed the pooch with this bag ban. Areas (like San Francisco) that have had bag bans for a while have seen an increase in ER visits for septic problems. A recent study at the University of Arizona found at least 50% of reusable (woven) grocery bags tested positive for coliform bacteria. Reusable bags need to be laundered regularly. Meat leaks, vegetables put in the same bag are contaminated. Bag bans are just poor public policy: politicians too lazy to look for other solutions.

  6. You can carry so much stuff with the T Shirt bags, like 5 bags on each side if you loop them on your arms and wrists.

  7. Enjoying this. I’ll be pushing a cart w/ 10 bags! Almost stopped bag vigilantes in their tracks one day. I was pushing a cart with 7 little bags waving their loops in the wind one day, and I carried one empty one like a kite. ?

  8. I just toss everything back in the cart and load it into my car and then carry it inside. No bags. And I buy as much as I used to buy. Piece of trivia: stores are only required to charge for the big paper bags. Smaller paper bags are free. And if someone is on food stamps or WIC the ordinance does not require the store to charge them even for the standard large paper bag.

  9. similar to what someone once told me back when the ADN had its own coin operated newspaper machines – pay for one, grab 3 & put the extras on top so the next few readers don’t have to contribute to their delinquency.

Comments are closed.