Organizers of Bag Ban Aim to Avoid Element of Surprise

Colorful plastic bags stuck in tree. Victor Andronache / Flickr

Colorful plastic bags stuck in tree. Victor Andronache / Flickr

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

The organizers behind a potential ban of single-use plastic bags in Kodiak stores want to make sure they approach the concept in the right way.

At its regular meeting this week, the Solid Waste Advisory Board decided it needs to consult all those who may be affected by the ban: the borough and city, store owners, and the community members who shop at the stores.

SWAB chair Nick Szabo said first that they might want to get a legal opinion from the borough attorney.

“To make sure that there is the authority for the assembly to ban plastic bags and also whether it would apply to inside the city limits or not because 99 percent of the retailers are within the city limits and, if so, would the city be able to opt out of it if they chose to?”

He also said that they want to avoid taking the city council by surprise as has happened with other initiatives that started with the borough, such as the Borough Assembly’s investigation into a possible consolidation or its change in building code.

SWAB decided it should gauge the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly’s interest first and then touch base with the City Council.

Members also suggested they speak with retailers, especially the big two, Safeway and Wal-Mart, and Szabo agreed they need to collaborate.

“We can’t just cram this down people’s throats. We have to make them want to do it or at least accept it as the right thing to do, and that’s why I threw in this thing about we might want to discuss at some point an effective date so that it gives people a chance to adjust to it and that kind of thing.”

Members said SWAB will need to present an ordinance and a clear idea of what the plastic ban could look like.

They assigned SWAB’s bag ban subcommittee the task of drafting a single ordinance to work from and present to possible community partners.

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