City of officials discuss plastic bag ban with Dillingham residents

Oct 31, 2019

The city of Dillingham held a meeting with community members Wednesday to gather the pros and cons of proposing legislation that would ban the use of plastic bags. 

Credit Tyler Thompson

The city of Dillingham is considering legislation to ban plastic bags. City planner Cynthia Rogers hosted a meeting Wednesday with community members to gather pros and cons of banning the bags.

L&M Manager Jason Lamson says the hardware store is preparing for this change and could be out of plastic bags by the end of the year. Lamson voiced concerns about how the city would define plastic bags.

"What I think we need to not do, is define a plastic bag so broadly," Lamson said. "If a technology comes along where you have rapidly bio-degradable plastic bags, we don’t want to set something in stone where if the bags are bio-degradable that we wouldn’t use them because it’s against code.”

Karen Brito spoke in favor of banning plastic bags. Brito said the ban could lead to a cleaner community.

“To me the pros are, fewer plastic bags decorating our trees and yards," Brito said. "Folks will begin to think about recycling, repurposing and reusing. Less plastic in our environment, planet and our kids will benefit.”

Brito said the cons would leave residents and stores without bagging options. She suggests that stores could carry paper bags and make reusable bags available for residents.

N&N Store manager John Warch also agrees with a ban. Warch says they currently reuse cardboard boxes as an alternative to plastic bags. But if a ban were put into place, he worries about covering the costs of freight for paper and reusable bags

“In Anchorage, reusable bags are $2 apiece and here we’re looking at $3 a piece depending on what our cost is," Warch said. "Paper bags, it’s not effective. Probably a $1 - $1.25 for large paper bags. Anything’s possible its just a matter of passing on the cost to the residents.”

The current cost for plastic bags is three to five cents per bag. The next discussion will happen at the Code Review Committee on Nov. 14 after the city reviews community feedback.

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