Single-use plastic bag ban starts in Anchorage

    Anchorage, Alaska (AP) - Anchorage city officials have organized the rollout of a single-use plastic bag ban in an effort to reduce litter and waste, officials said.

    The ban is scheduled to take effect Sunday.

    The Anchorage Assembly approved the ordinance in August 2018 banning commercial businesses including restaurants from legally handing out disposable plastic bags, officials said.

    The hope is that people will change their habits and carry reusable bags, said Ira Slomski-Pritz, a special assistant to Mayor Ethan Berkowitz who is handling the rollout of the ban.

    The original rollout date was scheduled for March 1, but it was delayed because business owners had large stockpiles of plastic bags to use up, city officials said.

    The ban follows those of other Alaska communities, including Wasilla, Palmer and Kodiak, officials said.

    Businesses can offer a paper bag but must charge the customer from a minimum of 10 cents to a maximum of 50 cents, but according to the ordinance, people using The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children or food stamps are exempt from the fee.

    There are a few exceptions to the regulation including bags used for produce, meat or bulk items at grocery stores.

    Single-use plastic bags currently can be recycled at a few drop-off locations in Anchorage, said Suzanna Caldwell, spokeswoman for the city's Solid Waste Services. After Sunday, the Anchorage Recycling Center won't accept plastic bags for recycling.

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