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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Anchorage is banning stores from distributing disposable plastic shopping bags in the city and will require retailers to charge customers a 10-cent fee for paper bags.

The city assembly adopted the plastic bag ban and paper bag fee Tuesday that take effect in March, the Anchorage Daily News reported .

The ban will apply to all retail businesses, including grocery stores, restaurants and pharmacies. Smaller plastic bags usually supplied by grocery stores for produce, meat or bulk items are exempt from the ban.

Retailers can keep the money from the paper bag fees, according to the ordinance. Businesses that do not charge the fee could face fines.

Supports say the move will reduce litter and encourage customers to bring reusable bags to stores.

Bringing with him more than a dozen plastic bags recently collected from Anchorage streets, Assemblyman Christopher Constant pushed for the strict ban at the meeting Tuesday.

“The waste stream is voluminous and we have an opportunity to break the cycle,” Constant said.

Opponents said the measure it would place a burden on businesses and customers.

Assemblyman John Weddleton said banning all plastic bags regardless of the thickness would be too much.

Thicker plastic bags were not at the heart of the problem, he said, also noting the increase use of paper bags could negatively affect the city’s carbon footprint.


Information from: Anchorage Daily News,