After two hours of discussion and debate, Logan City Council members will wait until March before voting on a proposed ordinance that would ban single use plastic bags within the city.
The council chambers and lobby area were filled to capacity Tuesday night during a public hearing on the ordinance.
Councilman Herm Olsen proposed the ban last December, claiming disposable single use plastic bags increase litter, and adversely impact wildlife, water quality and landfill operations.
Residents for and against the ban took turns explaining their position on the issue.
Logan High School senior Wesley Carter said he supports the bag ban, “because it will help our city reduce its plastic consumption and waste.” He said, “If we want to improve our environment in the long run, we need to start changing our consumption habits today.”
Christy Hyden works at the Logan City Landfill in the scale house as an attendant. She says there are days when a slight breeze will carry a plastic bag over the top of the transfer station, “and get blown off in the distance to the Cutler Reservoir or into the lakes.” She added, “We have an issue with plastic bags. It is something we need to be working on. I would like to see Logan City be the leader for Cache Valley.”
A number of people agreed with Carter and Hyden and expressed a desire for other municipalities as well as Cache County leaders to implement the same ban.
Mary DeSilva brought several examples of durable reusable bags and other residents suggested ways the community could come together to donate reusable bags for those who may not be able to afford them.
Others spoke out against the ban, including small business owner Julie Gortler. She said “I looked into getting paper bags and they were very, very expensive.” She said the potential for additional costs keeps her awake at night.
Tony Peacock agreed, “I think the penalties are draconian in this ordinance.” He said, “The brick and mortar stores around this city are suffering and suffering huge. I think this is a business killer.”
As an alternative to adopting the ban, the council discussed charging businesses a fee for plastic waste collection.
Environmental Department Director Issa Hamud was asked by council members to look into the feasibility of implementing a plastic management program that would include surcharges for businesses or industries.
The ordinance will come before the council again on March 19.