Plastic bag aggravation is political thuggery


Had about enough of Anchorage’s nonsensical plastic bag ban? Many have – and for good reason.

It is not the 10 cents people now are forced to pay for paper bags that gripes most. Nor is it the fact that government is telling private businesses what they must charge for the bags and then dictating what must go on the receipt.

It is not even the inconvenience of forgetting to bring a bag to the store and being forced to carry items in their arms or buy a paper bag.

Nope. For many, it is the high-handed way our nanny Assembly jammed the ordinance down residents’ throats.

Most vexing: During an Assembly work session an ordinance sponsor said the 10-cent fee was to “coerce people to change their behavior.”

That’s right. Some on the Assembly believe aggravating people, forcing – not leading – them to bend to the government’s will in order to achieve a goal is an acceptable form of governance. It is not. It is political thuggery. What comes next, goons knocking on our doors demanding our plastic bags?

If the Assembly wanted to ban plastic single-use bags – and, with Americans using about 100 billion of them a year, an argument can be made for it – it should have educated the public, put the question up for a vote by the people, and, if passed, let the private sector decide how it will adapt.

Using the power of city government to “coerce” or aggravate people and micromanage business is not much different than what would we have under a system of economic dirigisme, where government directs business, instead of having a regulatory role.

If its goal were to irritate Anchorage residents with a ban, the Assembly has done a truly remarkable job.

[Read: The Anchorage Daily Planet]


  1. Costco sells the “t-shirt” style plastic bags…you know, the kind you get your take-out food in. You can buy a box of 1,000 for about $16. I did. I used to recycle my plastic grocery bags and use them for many, many things…but no more. So, I have purchased 1,000 new plastic bags! I might stand in front of Fred Meyer and hand them out, FREE of charge to customers as they enter the store. Most people at this stage of the game aren’t remembering to bring their own bags and I know they will appreciate it. It is OK to bring in your own bags…even if they are plastic. They just cannot provide a plastic bag to you. Perhaps Forrest Dunbar will walk by and I can give one to him. He might have a seizure, but I’ll take my chances.

      • After I “forgot” a bag at a recent trip to Fred Meyer, and paid .10 cents for a paper bag (it was just a little to much to shove into my purse)…they also had an employee standing there…yes, now an additional employee…to bag my groceries! Yep! So, a person to check the groceries, charged me .10 cents for the bag, and an additional person to put the groceries in the bag. And, don’t they all get $15 an hour? Or has that not been shoved down their throats yet? All of those costs get crammed right back to us in our cost of goods.

  2. We’re all in sync with irritation. Stores/ companies are compromised, checkout clerks have to deal with the weird and odd assortment of bags people bring into the store. General pain in the rear. What was the assembly thinking? They weren’t. They were sold a concept by someone who does not live here. That Greenie person has no doubt left our area and she’s selling her ideas to some other small and hapless group of people who make decisions for their citizenry, and apparently, everyone is smarter than the assembly. If anyone tried to push me on this reform i’d say no! We still have to have plastic bags for household garbage. Alaska is not in a position to economically recycle, and due to the ( ahem!) size of this state, a new city dump area can be found….that will last another 50 years.

  3. The “assembly” wouldn’t be the same one that’s passing a “storm runoff” or ‘rain’ tax on Anchorage residents/property owners, would it? You know, taxing you for rain on your property. Intrusion into citizens’ lives by mandate, instead of vote, is the leftist way. Giving public parks to “homeless” crud?
    Getting your moneys’ worth yet, Anchorage? I truly believe you haven’t seen anything yet. Socialism/communism coming at ya, Anchorage property owners and citizens. Reap what you sow (vote for) Alaskans.

  4. I have a simple question. How do we the people start a ballot initiative to repeal this silly plastic bag ban, along with the mandated charge for the paper bags? Someone needs to start such an effort.

    • There was an attempt to repeal via ballot initiative that did not get sufficient support to even start collecting signatures.

      OTOH, 7 of these clowns are up for reelection in April. You want to expend a bit of political effort, concentrate it there. Time for a thorough house cleaning, I think. Cheers –

      • Clean house for many reasons! The assembly has given us one glaring example of their lack of study and research. Get some scholars on that Assembly!

  5. I was charged 10 cents at the McDonalds drivethru for the paper bag my food came in! I did not ASK for a paper bag! WTF!!???

    • I would suggest boycotting McDonald’s and any other fast-food place that has the nerve to charge for the paper bag food has always come in.

    • I was too and when I asked them all they could say was “it’s a muni thing”
      Later I went to bath and body works, I took my bag from the gap purchase that I was not charged for!
      Glad I moved outta the assembly controlled gestapo of Anchorage! Look out for Guido knocking on your door for your bank account info!

      • My wife almost was charged but she objected and wasn’t. Later she contacted the office and was told initially following the ban there were inconsistencies and they were now not charging.

  6. It does seem like the requirement to charge 10 cents is a little bit much. Let the businesses decide. But as for the bag ban itself, what’s the big deal? Nobody avoids Costco, and I can’t remember ever getting my purchases bagged there. Same for stores like Aldi in the Lower 48. A bag ban has been in place in the Mat-Su for a little while, and the sky hasn’t fallen.

    • Being charged .10 for a biodegradable bag is absurd!
      Being automatically charged for a bag you should be able to choose if you want is wrong! What will McDonald’s do if you bring your own bag and say “Big Mac with fries, please hold the bag”

    • I actually deliberately avoid Costco because I hate carrying stuff out in boxes without bags. I’m tired of people like you dictating how I live my life, I prefer live and let live to your live and obey mentality.

  7. We’ve all thought of the successful “ packaging” that Costco offers. That packaging is BOXES. Costco keeps boxes under the counter for us to use. Small plastic shoppers’ bags don’t work at Costco anyway, because we purchase case lots of food, and also multiples of large items. Our regular stores did not allow space at checkout for boxes. There might be a solution there. And then you have to dispose of the large boxes eventually! So that’s no good.

    The regular plastic shoppers bags have been a boon to commerce and to customers. It has always been win/win.

    And you know…..we still have to use multiple plastic bags for household garbage. Which brings me to the topic of incomprehensible quantities of plastic wrapping suctioned around everything we purchase! All because someone injected cyanide into an aspirin bottle 40 years ago.

    Stuff is out of control. With my little plastic shoppers’ bags, I can at least keep my own life and garbage in control.

    Matsu Valley people probably went to Costco and purchased their own thousands of little plastic bags.

    I will leave you with one little stinky thought….take your dirty diapers which used to be wrapped up tidily in plastic shoppers’ bags to the next Anchorage assembly meeting. Let the assembly figure out how to contain dirty diapers. That’s what we used to do with newspapers but there isn’t enough newsprint available anymore.

  8. Sorry it is such a major inconvenience for you. Maybe grow up and get over it. After overseeing several small landfills I have seen first hand the havoc they create. I live in Wasilla and have been willingly dealing with it for several years. Yes sometimes I forget to take the bags into the store so I bag my groceries outside. If not have plastic shopping bags is your worse problem you have life pretty good.

  9. Packaging universally has gotten out of hand and the disposal of such. Yes, neighborhood garbage dumps do definitely cause problems. Sorry you live near them.

  10. Asking a clerk to bag groceries in customer-supplied bags can have injurious effects on the bagger. You see, those cloth bags and the plastic ones most likely are not properly cleaned and SANITIZED. Bacteria grows. Bagger gets sick from touching your gross bags. You’ll probably get sick because you’re eating food from that yucky bag.

  11. Precisely! Glad you mentioned it. Dirty bags placed near the counter! Germ freaks will start having problems. And we have to carry in multiple small dirty bags that equal the size of the plastic bags. Those plastic bags are sized to be convenient. Most people can handle filled bags that size.

  12. So, some years back they where trying to save the spotted owl. So they stopped cutting trees and put loggers out of work. Now they are promoting logging and don’t know it. Haha

  13. They are quick to point out that this is not a tax, but rather a fee. The monies collected for a tax usually go to a general fund whereas the monies from a fee are generally earmarked for a specific purpose related to the fee. For example, a park fee supports the park. This “fee” does neither. Rather it sets the price for paper bags among all retailers, much like price fixing. That our council feels that we are not reasonable people and the must engage in negative feedback in order to modify our behavior is insulting, to say the least.

  14. I, as a city council member of the Wasilla City Council, voted about a year ago to address the issue of the trash problem caused by plastic bags, By a vote of 4 to 2, we restricted the use of plastic bags, we didn’t ban them or demand the retailer charge for the use. We simply told the retailer to change to a bag that was reusable, which they did. Our citizens can still use their old plastic bags, buy the reusable or the old-style t-shirt bags at Costco or cart their groceries out to the car and put them in the vehicle. The amount of flying plastic bags has been very noticeable and welcomed. The dirty bag excuse doesn’t apply because the plastic bags in the veggie and meat departments remained free. Since we didn’t ban the plastic bags and just told the retailer not to use the bags in question, we avoided much of the hassle Anchorage has had in the early days of their ban. We didn’t address the fast-food locations since our trash problems didn’t originate with the drive-thru outlets. We still have the “you stole our liberty ” crowd complaining about the loss of free bags but we will get by, somehow.

    • It’s a real shame leftists like yourself have been able to take power in our state, hopefully I can pass a measure to ban you from the state.

    • “Since we didn’t ban the plastic bags and just told the retailer not to use the bags in question”- that’s funny.

  15. I appreciated Mike Dryden’s comment! Thank you Mike….very helpful. Our Anchorage Assembly members should be responding to this.

  16. The bag ban is just one of many slippery slopes that the left is more than willing to go down and drag us all with them. The question is whom among us is going to stop them? It absolutely starts at the ballot box. Vote the socialists out while you still can.

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