“Cache Valley has a problem. It’s a trash problem,” according to Logan City Council member Herm Olsen and he’s hoping to tackle the issue, one bag at a time.
Olsen is specifically referring to disposable plastic bags. He says bags from the Logan area end up blowing all over the valley, “making its greatest impact in the Clarkston, Newton, Trenton area.”
“In an effort to clean up the mess we are making across the valley,” Olsen is proposing that Logan City prohibit the retail distribution of single use plastic bags. Those are the bags you would typically get at grocery and convenience stores.
Olsen introduced the ordinance during the December 18th Logan City Council meeting.
In part, the ordinance states the City of Logan desires to protect the environment, public health, and the economy. In addition, disposable single use plastic bags increase litter, and adversely impact wildlife, water quality and landfill operations.
“The single use plastic bags are not only a visual problem,” Olsen said, “because they are plastic, they just don’t disintegrate. They break down into what are called micro-beads and can then be ingested by fish, birds, animals and make their way into our own food chain.” Olsen emphasized, “They’re a bit of a danger and a big mess.”
The ordinance maintains alternatives to disposable plastic bags are readily available that are biodegradable, recyclable or reusable.
However, alternatives come at a price and he admits some merchants are concerned about the potential costs if the proposal is enacted.
“Change is never easy,” admits Olsen. “A lot of businesses have recognized for years that this is a problem. We just need to get out in front of it and be a leader for our community.”
If the ordinance passes, violators of the ban could be liable for a civil penalty: a fine not exceeding $250 for the first violation following a written warning within a one-year period. The fine increases after a second violation.
A number of city council members agreed with the general proposal of banning single use bags, but are looking for more clarification before any future action is taken.
Many would also like to see Cache County and other cities in the valley consider a similar proposal.
A public hearing on the ordinance will be set at a future date.