Anchorage Assembly considers tweaks to bag ban - Must Read Alaska
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Tuesday, March 31, 2020
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Anchorage Assembly considers tweaks to bag ban

The Anchorage Assembly’s ban on plastic bags will undergo changes if the assembly approves them at its Oct. 8 regular meeting.

The bag ban, which affects retailers and shoppers, prohibits single-use plastic bags, but allows retailers to offer paper bags — but they are required to charge a fee for them.

The problem with the government-mandated fee became apparent on the first day the ban was implemented — Sept. 15. As people began to frequent fast-food restaurants, they found they were being charged for the paper bag they had always received to hold their French fries, burgers and ketchup packages. And they were mad at having to pay an extra 10 cents for the bag.

The Assembly is looking to make adjustments with “Ordinance No. AO 2019-121, amending Anchorage Municipal Code Section 15.95.020, Prohibition on providing or distributing plastic shopping bags; fees for alternative bags; exceptions.”

The Assembly is likely to clarify that retail sellers are not required to provide alternative bags, but must charge a fee when they do. And the law will likely exempt some businesses like fast-food restaurants.

Sit-down restaurants are facing their own problems, as they try to package diners’ leftovers. Will they also receive an exemption or simply move to bigger cardboard boxes for diners to take home their meals? Are bakers still going to have to charge for the bag they provide to their customers for donuts and pastries?

A public hearing on the changes to the bag ban will be the subject of a public hearing on Oct. 8. The Assembly meeting begins at 6 pm, at the Loussac Library Assembly Chambers, 3600 Denali Street.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • I would think Styrofoam is a worse problem.

  • Who ever is coming up with these ridiculous laws to generate more money needs to be fired as they have way too much time on their hands.

    • No one individual is capable of the stupidity. Has to be a committee of Democrats.

  • Anchorage’s ban on plastic bags has gone beyond absurd. It is one thing to tell businesses that they can no longer provide plastic shopping bags for their customers, but it is an entirely different matter to require that businesses charge their customers for the “luxury” of having a paper bag for their items. It is ridiculous that some businesses are charging $0.50 for a bag that we once got for free when purchasing our items at various restaurants and businesses. It is just another way for the Municipality of Anchorage to tax the consumer without telling them that they are getting taxed. Come clean Assembly, if you want a flipping tax for Anchorage then impose one. This state is no longer a democracy when the will of a few people on an Assembly can implement whatever rule they want without putting it out for election to the people of their community. Socialism is well on its way in Anchorage.

    • Not so much a tax because the city collects zero dollars from this — it’s the businesses that are collecting and keeping the 10 cent per bag fee. A 1 cent bag that McD’s has always given their customers is now at a profit because they can collect now 10 cents on a 1 cent bag. The money goes into the pockets of business owners and does nothing but replace plastic bags but paper ones at the expense of the consumer.

  • My “tweak” would be as elegant as it is simple: “AO18-whatever is repealed.” Talk about a waste of everyone’s time.

  • Just visited Anchorage, but not shopping there again. Charged for a paper bag at a nice shop in the mall that I always get my wife gifts at, cost me 10 cents for the bag that they always put it in before. As it is lotion, candles and other gee-gaws, my option was carry it out in my pockets or buy a bag. Well Seattle has that shop and at least I don’t have to pay for the bag.

  • Back in the day, we all used paper bags…at no extra charge. The left wing Democrat liberals said we were cutting down too many trees, so we went to plastic bags. It will go full circle and in 20-30 years we will go back to plastic.
    Do you remember…..when Coconut oil was banned in the mid 1990’s, because it was going to kill us? Now its a health food sold everywhere.

    Democrat Liberals are a circus!

  • Anytime I buy anything in the People’s Republic of Anchorage, They offer to sell me a paper bag for a dime. I ask them if this is Portland Oregon? Back before plastic, did they not give paper bags away for FREE…? I forgot, Mayor Spendalot needs more money for the homeless.. Speaking of which… They are the trashiest POS slobs around. Give them a semi-private corner, they’ll sh– in it. We thought about packing it up and leaving it on the mayor’s doorstep so he can enjoy some of the “love”.

  • The Anchorage Assembly has one more tweak they are not yet ready to discuss. In the not too distant future, the 10 cent bag charge will be payable to the city and will be called a user fee to bypass the tax cap.

  • If you are a poor unfortunate soul on the public dole you can get double bags for free.

  • I don’t think they are really required to charge for the little bags. At least the big retail stores only charge for the barrel sized paper bags and not for the littler ones. I haven’t actually read the law and it could be the major retailers are treated differently but the burger places might want to get a second opinion on that since their bags are even smaller than the ones the retailers give out for free.

    • The law is written to put a fee on every paper bag. Not a mistake. The elites on the assembly and in the mayor’s office dont eat fast food.

  • This bag problem is really a Statewide issue. Don’t believe me? Travel to Bethel in the Winter and see A.C. bags by the thousands hung up in the Alder Trees along the banks of the Kusko. Palmer and Kodiak outlawed plastic bags now Anchortown. Walmart has available for a mere .50 cents these wonderful big blue bags that last forever but are always forgotten and left at home. Costco management must be laughing since they have figured out how to rid themselves of shipping boxes and stay out of the bag ban fray!

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