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.
CAN THEY DO THAT?
According to the Muni’s 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.
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.