City to sun-set plastic bag exemption
Last spring when Covid-19 first reached pandemic levels in the U.S., the Homer City Council moved to allow single-use plastic grocery bags to be provided at local retail outlets. Homer residents voted in a plastic bag ban last year, however, with the nature of the coronavirus largely unknown, employees and management at local grocery stores urged the council to allow single-use bags out of concern that reusable bags may harbor the highly transmissible disease.
Last week at its regular meeting, the Homer City Council approved an extension of the code suspension dealing with single-use bags, but also set a deadline for their use: the end of the year.
The public hearing on the ordinance drew some callers, the first, Karen Marks.
“I’ll just ask the question, with the increase of Covid going on right now, if it continues to go along, … if it’s a little premature to select January 1? It’s not that I don’t want it to come, it’s just that I’m wondering if it’s a little premature,” she said.
Paper bags have always been an option for stores, but on January 1, reusable bags will again be allowed. Councilmember Donna Aderhold explained why she and Councilmember Caroline Venuti introduced the ordinance.
“At the time that we set this, there was a lot of confusion, a lot of unknowns and a lot of fears. And all that was justified. Setting the plastic bag ban aside for that time period because of all those questions are very valid. I think a lot of those questions have been answered,” Aderhold said. “We’re now in a time where things are flowing smoothly. We know how to act personally, we know how to act socially, and so I believe it is time to return to the plastic bag ban.”
The council passed the ordinance unanimously, which would allow the plastic bag ban to go into effect again on January 1.