The shopping experience in Anchorage is about to change when the plastic bag ban takes effect on Sept. 15. The ban means stores will no longer be able to offer single use plastic bags at the checkout stand.

The ban applies to almost all retail stores in the municipality, including plastic bags restaurants use for take-out foods. But there are some exceptions. Among other things, the ban allows stores to provide plastic bags for produce, bulk items, meats or seafood and prescription drugs.

Plastic bags for produce will still be permitted

Assemblyman John Weddleton said the intent of the ordinance is to encourage people to bring their own bags or buy the reusable bags stores offer. Shoppers can also opt for paper bags at the checkout, but Weddleton said they’ll be charged 10 cents per bag with a five bag limit per transaction if they do.

“If you take a paper bag you’ll get dinged a dime for every paper bag up to five per transaction,” he said. “And that will aggravate people and they're gonna say ‘I’m sick of this. I’m just going to bring my own bag.' Well that’s what we are looking for.”

Weddleton said there is a third option, people can bring their own plastic bags if they choose.

People who choose paper bags will be charged a fee of 10 cents a bag

“You can actually buy them at Costco,” Weddleton said. “You can bring the ones you’ve saved. You can bring whatever bag you want, it’s retailers can’t give you the bag.”

Retailers who violate the new ordinance will face fines. A warning for the first offense, $200 for a second offense and $500 fine for third and subsequent offenses.

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