Date of plastic bag ban approaches

Colorful plastic bags stuck in tree. (Photo by Victor Andronache / Flickr)

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

Proponents of the single-use plastic bag ban are busy preparing for the start date.

On April 22, Earth Day, stores will be disallowed from handing their products over in plastic bags.

Nick Szabo, who sits on the Solid Waste Advisory Board, says single-use bags hurt the environment.

They’re a danger to marine animals that might consume them and a major source of litter.

They’re also an extra cost for local government.

“The borough spends up to $10,000 a year because one of the conditions of the landfill permit is that they keep the surrounding area clean and they have to hire special people in the summertime, and it’s much more labor intensive to clean these bags clinging to the trees and that type of thing.”

He says they’re encouraging people to donate reusable bags for those who may not have any at home.

“In addition to that, we want to get 6,000 new bags into the community, and so we’ve gotten several grants. We got a $1,000 grant from Wal-Mart. We can buy 2,000 bags with that. The Lions Club is buying 500 bags. The Kodiak Brown Bear Trust is buying 1,000 bags.”

Retailers have some time before they need to transition.

Szabo says the City Council passed the bag ban ordinance on January 25, and stores can still distribute the plastic bags they purchased before that date, but no later than December.

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