The Logan City Council decided Tuesday night to delay a vote on an ordinance that would have banned single use plastic bags typically distributed in grocery and convenience stores.
The decision to hold off on the ban came after weeks of vigorous debate from the public and a plea from Councilman Herm Olsen to vote in favor of the ordinance.
“The volume, the tonage of plastics that is currently sent out to our landfill is massive, and whatever we can do to minimize that, to reduce it, to recycle that plastic adds years to the life of our landfill and is a great environmental benefit to our community,” said Olsen.
Members of the Cache County Solid Waste Advisory Board attended the meeting to urge the council to hold off on implementing the ban.
Craig Buttars, the board chairman and Cache County Executive, said a county wide plastic waste reduction program is currently being discussed and felt it would be beneficial for all 19 cities in the county to work together to address its solid waste problem.
“This is a much broader issue than just plastics,” said Buttars. “We made a proposal that would include a public information campaign to address the problem and look at possible solutions that involve the public and will accomplish more in the long run and secure the greater support from the public.”
Lloyd Berentzen, board member and director of the Bear River Health Department, said, “I think it’s a team effort.”
Berentzen encouraged Logan to take a step back and work with other cities and retailers on addressing solutions rather than impose a bag ban.
Olsen agreed everyone in the valley should step up; however, he felt Logan needed to move forward and set an example.
“There is a risk that passage of the ordinance could be misinterpreted by some, but I would hope our message is one of cooperation,” Olsen said.
Councilwoman Amy Anderson worried that implementing the ban would actually undermine the “spirit of cooperation” and send the wrong message.
“I am reluctant to do something,” Anderson said, “if there’s the threat that county individuals will feel we are trying to be the big dog.”
The council agreed to table the ordinance for six months to allow the solid waste advisory board to continue developing a plan for the county.
Had the council voted in favor of the ordinance, Logan would have been Utah’s third city to implement a plastic bag ban.
Park City and Moab have already passed bans on single-use plastic bags.
The Utah State Legislature recently considered a bill that would have blocked cities from enacting bans on plastic bags, straws, containers and other items.
House Bill 320, which was never heard in the 2019 legislative session, faced pushback from communities who claimed the state was dictating what they should do.