City reaches into bag of tricks to get word out about upcoming ban

With a plastic bag ban on the horizon, Bainbridge Island city officials are preparing a communication strategy to help islanders adjust to the coming change.

A shopping bag-design contest is just one of a few ideas city officials will present to the city council at its meeting this week.

On Wednesday, the city council will be briefed on the city's public outreach plans for the plastic bag ban that starts Nov. 1.

The initial informational push will come in the form of fliers that answer common questions about the ban. The fliers will be distributed around town and in mailers throughout September and October. The city will also coordinate with Bainbridge Disposal to distribute the flier with customers' garbage bills.

The two main island business organizations, the chamber of commerce and the downtown association, will also be briefed on the coming ban so they can spread the word about the new rules with their members through emails and newsletters.

In addition, the city's website will host a new page packed with information about the prohibition.

But city officials have also gotten a bit creative in their approach to educate shoppers about the upcoming ban. One idea is to start a shopping bag design contest aimed at local artists.

Adults and children could enter the competition, and the design submissions would be posted at city hall for a publicĀ  vote.

The winning design, or designs, would then be produced in limited quantity and the art-emblazoned bags would be handed out to islanders.

Another idea that the council will consider is having Mayor Debbi Lester write a letter about the ban that would be posted on the city's website.

In April, the Bainbridge Island City Council approved a ban on all thin-film plastic bags that are given out at island stores.

The ban does not include the thicker-style plastic bags provided by many of the city's boutique shops, and does also not restrict bags that are used for produce, prescriptions and bulk items.

A pass-through charge of 5 cents will also be placed on all paper bags used by customers.

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