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September 3, 2021

Anchorage Mayor pushes to postpone plastic bag ban further

The ordinance will come into effect once it is passed and approved by the Assembly.

The Mayor of Anchorage, Alaska, US, has asked the Anchorage Assembly to extend the suspension of the city’s ban on plastic bags.

The Anchorage Municipal Code Chapter 15.95 prohibits retailers from providing or distributing plastic shopping bags and requires them to charge customers a fee for alternative bags.

The ban’s enforcement was put on hold until 31 August after the Anchorage Assembly passed AO 2021-15 on 23 February.

On 2 September, Dave Bronson submitted an ordinance to the Assembly that would suspend the plastic bag ban until next May.

The ordinance will be introduced for the Assembly’s consideration at its meeting on 14 September.

The call for an extension comes as many businesses in Anchorage have switched to kerbside pick-up or delivery in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

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In addition, limited interactions between employees and customers have prevented individuals from using personal or reusable bags or containers.

Mayor Bronson said: “I’ve heard from a variety of Anchorage residents, businesses and stakeholders about their support for extending this moratorium on enforcement.

“With supply chain shortages and delays, the rise in Covid-19 case counts and the massive expansion in kerbside pick-up and delivery that has limited the use of personal and reusable bags, this policy should be extended until we can get our hands around a variety of outstanding issues.

“This suspension would also allow retailers to use their existing stock of plastic bags, provide time for businesses to restock their supplies of reusable or paper bags and continue to limit contact between employees and customers for those wishing to do so.

“While I generally disagree with the underlying policy banning the distribution of plastic bags, I think we can all agree that a temporary moratorium on this policy is the right approach.”

Last month, Oregon passed an extended producer responsibility law for packaging, becoming the second US state to pass such legislation.

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