Kodiak may ban plastic shopping bags later this year

Single-use plastic shopping bags on the street. (Photo by Velkr0/Flickr)

Mitch Borden/KMXT

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It’s looking like some plastic shopping bags will be banned in Kodiak this year. At the Kodiak City Council work session last night, the council heard an update on the proposed embargo from members of the Kodiak Island Borough Solid Waste Advisory Board.

The possible ban would make it illegal for stores in the community to provide single-use plastic shopping bags, which are the kind of bags distributed at grocery stores and other retailers. SWAB is the organization that put forward the ordinance that’d forbid these kinds of bags.

SWAB will work with local organizations to distribute 6,000 reusable shopping bags to the public for free. So far the Kodiak Brown Bear Trust, Kodiak Lions Club, and Walmart have said they’ll help with this effort according to Nick Szabo, the chairman of SWAB.

Stephanie Mason, a member of SWAB, says another important aspect of the process is educating people about the change. She showed a flyer illustrated by a local artist that’ll explain the transition.

“It’s black and white to encourage kids to color it, bring it home, talk about it with their families. There is a translated version in Spanish and were working on getting together an Alutiiq and Tagalog [version].”

Councilman John Whiddon suggested the flyers be distributed through Kodiak schools to reach more people. Both Councilman Charlie Davidson and Mayor Pat Branson said the ban will probably be passed by the council.

The ordinance that’ll enact the ban, will go before the council for its first reading at its regular meeting on Thursday.  The single-use plastic shopping bag ban, if passed, will go into effect this year on Earth Day, which is April 22nd.

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