Logan Municipal Council members have taken a leap forward in dealing with plastic waste they say is littering communities and overwhelming the landfill.
The Council, Tuesday night, passed a resolution and a “fall back safety” ordinance addressing the issue one way or the other.
The resolution, which was passed unanimously by the council, offers support to a county wide plastic waste management program in the works and set to take effect in March, 2020.
“It’s a baby step for the community, but an important step,” said Council member Herm Olsen after the meeting.
Olsen has made the goal of reducing plastic waste in the city and county a priority over the past year. He is concerned that plastic bags and plastic film create litter and other environmental concerns, and raises the cost of solid waste management.
After a public hearing last March, Olsen and fellow council members held off voting to ban single use plastic bags in Logan in an effort to get other communities and the county on board with the idea.
Since then, the Solid Waste Advisory Board has been working with Logan City Environmental Department and the Bear River Health Department to implement a “Plastic Management Program” for Cache County. The Board was given a year to develop a plan.
The plan, which has yet to be approved and adopted, suggests businesses throughout the county eliminate free single use plastic bags, or charge the customer a $0.10 fee per bag. Businesses could be charged a handling fee to dispose of plastics at the county waste facility.
“If that plan for whatever reason is not adopted, then we have the fall back,” said Olsen.
The “fall back safety” ordinance passed Tuesday night bans the distribution of disposable plastic bags in Logan City only and would be enacted April, 2020 if the Solid Waste Advisory Board fails to adopt the earlier plan.
The ordinance did not receive unanimous approval. Council members Jess Bradfield and Tom Jensen voted against it.
“If we pass both of these…we are doing a redundancy,” said Bradfield. “I fear there may be an inclination not to ever repeal it (the ordinance) and I think we had made a good faith commitment to our businesses not to do that and work with the county. I do not think the ban is necessary.”
“I like the plan,” he said. “I think we can always implement the ban. I sometimes worry that doing something like what is being suggested to do could be a reverse incentive, a big hammer. I’m going to vote no.”
Olsen pushed and prevailed at getting both the resolution and the ordinance passed, to the applause and cheers of many in the audience.
“It’s a statement about who we are and what our values are,” said Olsen. “It only helps in providing that incentive to the rest of this community and to the rest of this county. It also helps alert the merchants that we are serious about helping them do something about plastic waste and single use plastic bag waste.”