Islander have a chance to design their own bag

Island artists have always put their mark around town. Now they can bag it.

The Bainbridge Island City Council unanimously approved a shopping bag design contest Wednesday to help get the word out about the approaching plastic bag ban.

The move came during a briefing on various measures the city will be taking to spread the word about the new regulations. The idea for the contest was presented by the city’s code enforcement officer Meghan McKnight.

The most immediate step the city will take will be the production of a flier answering common questions about the ban. The information will also be available on a new page on the city’s website.

The fliers will be distributed around the island to homes and businesses over the next two months before the ban goes into effect on Nov. 1. The city will also coordinate with Bainbridge Disposal to include the flier in their October bills.

The city’s chamber of commerce and the Bainbridge Island Downtown Association will also be consulted to get word out to local businesses about the changes to island checkout stands and the bags they offer.

But the idea that was most well-received by the council was a contest to design a shopping bag. Islanders will be offered the opportunity to design their own bags. The designs will then be posted at city hall for public voting.

The concept is in its early stages of development, but there will likely be separate children’s and adult’s categories.

The winning bag will be produced in a limited quantity and handed out for free to islanders.

The council approved the use of contingency funds to pay for the bags, which McKnight noted would cost around $1.60 each, or approximately $1,015 total.

A ban on thin-film plastic bags was approved by the city council in April. The ban includes bags usually handed to customers at store check-out stands but does not include the thicker-style boutique bags that are common to small island shops.

A pass-through charge of 5 cents on paper bags was also approved to help offset the change in costs to retailers.

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