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Bag ban returns in Homer, Alaska

By: Mike Verespej

September 25, 2012

HOMER, ALASKA (Sept. 25, 4:45 p.m. ET) — The ban on single-use disposable plastic carryout bags is back on in Homer, Alaska.

Homer City Council voted Sept .24 to override a veto of the bill by Mayor James Hornaday. That means the ban will go into effect Jan. 1, as originally scheduled.

The Homer ban also includes biodegradable and compostable bags made from plastics or bioresins. Plastic bags used to package either bulk food items or small hardware items such as nails and bolts are exempt. Bags used to contain dampness or prevent leaks from items such as frozen foods, meat, fish, flowers, potted plants, prepared foods and bakery goods also are exempt.

There also are exemptions for newspaper bags, laundry or dry cleaning bags, and plastic bags for prescription drugs.

Altogether, there are 82 U.S. communities with plastic bag bans, including 41 cities and seven counties in California that encompass 16 percent of the state’s population.

Plastic bag bans are in place in three of the 14 largest and five of the 29 largest cities in the United States: San Francisco, San Jose, Calif.; Austin, Texas, Seattle and Portland, Ore.

In addition, Los Angeles — the nation’s second-largest city with a population of 4 million — this summer set in motion a plan to ban single-use plastic bags.

More than half of the plastic bag bans in the United States — 44 — have been enacted this year. In addition, three communities — Aspen, Colo.; Washington, D.C., and Montgomery County, Md. — have fees on plastic carryout bags.