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Supporters of plastic bag ban concerned over proposed repeal

A plastic bag hangs on a chain-link fence.
Morgan Vander Hart

When the plastic bag ban was proposed in 2019, it was met with opposition by the Cache County Council, and Logan retailers who argued that plastic bag alternatives were more expensive. They argued if bags weren’t banned in nearby towns, shoppers may choose to frequent stores outside of Logan where plastic bags were available.

In response, the city drew up a County Wide Waste Management Plan and presented it to Cache County’s Solid Waste Advisory Board, who ultimately approved of it. The Logan City Council signed an ordinance saying they would adopt the county management plan following its approval.

“And there was going to be a year of educational outreach time,April 2019 to April 2020. They were going to be able to have this year the county to educate retailers on what was happening…COVID hit right before.

Macy Gustavus is a graduate student at Utah State University researching microplastics in aquatic ecosystems. She says the start of the COVID 19 pandemic postponed both the county wide management plan and the Logan plastic bag ban until January 1, 2022. Now, the Logan City Council is proposing a repeal of the city’s plastic bag ban in support of the plastic bag options in the waste management plan. But Gustavus and other researchers at USU are concerned that the countywide plan is not as effective as a plastic bag ban.

“There’s four options retailers can choose. All three of those are pretty obsolete, they mean nothing. Two of them are based off of implementing a recycling plan . Only 9% of plastics ever made have been recycled. The one option, which I think might be the option that most, especially major retailers, opt for, there is a 10 cent fee option.”

Gustavus favors the fee option given its success at cutting plastic use in other cities by more than half. She fears that the waste management plan may change, and repealing the plastic bag ban could leave Logan without any solution for plastics.

“We want to see that the county wide waste management plan is effective before we have that plastic bag ban repealed”

Ellis Juhlin is a science reporter here at Utah Public Radio and a Master's Student at Utah State. She studies Ferruginous Hawk nestlings and the factors that influence their health. She loves our natural world and being part of wildlife research. Now, getting to communicate that kind of research to the UPR listeners through this position makes her love what she does even more. In her free time, you can find her outside on a trail with her partner Matt and her goofy pups Dodger and Finley. They love living in a place where there are year-round adventures to be had!