Haines, Homer bag bans start New Years Day

Plastic bag


Haines and Homer bans on single-use plastic bags start New Years Day, 2020.

Homer city voters approved Proposition 1 in the Oct. 1 General Election. That mandated that, with just a few weeks to prepare, retailers will not provide single-use plastic bags for shoppers starting Wednesday. The ban affects grocery stores, convenience stores, general merchandise, liquor stores, restaurants, and temporary retailers such as farmers market and fair vendors.

Homer enacted a bag ban via ordinance in 2012, but it was repealed the next year by a ballot initiative from rebellious voters. This time, it passed the vote with 946 in favor, 497 opposed.

Haines Borough enacted a bag ban by ordinance in May, to go into effect Jan. 1, 2020, when it will be illegal for businesses to provide single-use plastic shopping bags.

Haines and Homer join other Alaska communities so far to ban carryout bags that are less than 2.5 mils thick:

  • Anchorage, September 15, 2019
  • Unalaska, January 1, 2019
  • Palmer, January 1, 2019
  • Soldotna, November 1, 2018
  • Wasilla, July 1, 2018
  • Kodiak, April 22, 2018
  • Cordova, October 1, 2016
  • Hooper Bay, September 1, 2010
  • Bethel, September 1, 2010

Are cotton tote bags actually better for the environment? The jury is undecided, but the evidence doesn’t look good for cotton bags.

[Read: Your cotton tote is pretty much the worst replacement for a plastic bag]



  1. Amazon. 14 bucks for 350 bags and they say “thank you” on them. I use mine over and over. They’re lots handier than paper or cotton and they fit right in your pocket. Hope they don’t pass laws/ordnances making it illegal to possess them. Maybe have to pass a background check and register your bags so they can keep track of them. If the existing laws against litter were enforced, no problem with discarded bags, etc. That’s too easy. We need more laws to not enforce, except those against convenient and cost saving items like plastic bags.

    • More politically correct BS. My wife and I have been recycling and reusing plastic bags and cups for decades. And we never vote Democrat.

  2. Haines may ban plastic bags, however they do support: Transgender high school athletes, parking lots, marijuana, visitor restrooms, keg festivals, saunas, climate change, wine toasting, bodily function theater and more hiking trails. Not in Haines vision for the future: cruise ships, mining, logging, heli-skiing, or borough wide police and emergency services.

  3. I don’t mind the concept of banning plastic bags, what I don’t like is how it’s been implemented. Don’t charge me for a g@dd@mmed paper bag when they didn’t do that decades ago when that’s all they offered. If they want to charge for paper than fine, add a fractional amount to the cost of every item in the store to cover the bags, just like they did with the plastic bags.

    I was recently in Anchorage and it was a huge PITA to get anything because I didn’t bring any bags with me from my town. Will they let me wear a back pack in the store? Again, I support the concept as those plastic bags cause a ton of litter but charging me for a paper bag that used to come for “free” is BS.

  4. These bag bans have virtually nothing to do with trash. If you’ve ever cleaned up trash on the side of any road, or walked on the side of any road these bags are nowhere to be seen. If the idea was to reduce trash then plastic bottles, glass bottles, cigarette butts, and cardboard would be banned.

  5. Screwed the pooch on this one. Back in the day, I remember when paper bags were going to cause the loss of forests and plastic bags were the answer. Study at Univ of Ariz found over 50% of fabric bags tested positive for coliform bacteria. These bags need to be laundered. If not, people get sick (shoppers and clerks)

  6. Folks on this conservative blog seem to be grumbling about the dirty commie hippies in Homer, Haines, and Anchorage. Curiously everyone seems to have forgotten to grumble about those in Wasilla, who put the other hippie commies utterly to shame; according to this article they were one of the first in Alaska to ban bags (ahead even of some very proggy cities in the Lower 48). At least Homer and Haines (perhaps due to not getting off their sofas) have waited until the present; Wasilla has been doing so SIX TIMES as long as Anchorage! Also I don’t see “Seattle’s northernmost suburb” on that list quite yet. Looks like for well over a couple years and counting to this day, a businessman in Juneau is free to determine what thickness of shopping bag to provide to his own customers on his own property, but a businessman in Wasilla has had that decision taken over by his wise and benevolent betters.

    Here in the Lower 48 we are always hearing Alaska’s political climate discussed as one of old-school, frontiersman’s love of liberty. No place lives up to its stereotype, of course, but color me even less impressed. You are the coldest state by far, yet were not particularly late to tell your businessmen that they may not operate a bar choosing to cater to smokers–even as nearly all states in the Sun Belt, where people could easily go outside, still do no such thing. And now it seems that MOST Alaskans–though Juneau is keeping the ratio pretty close–must forgo a basic and benign modern convenience for some virtue-signaling performative bougie Luddism. Maybe if Greta Thunberg winterizes her yacht, she can cruise to Wasilla to receive the Key to the City.

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