The Logan Municipal Council is hosting a public hearing on the proposed citywide plastic bag ban next week, and the response from local businesses on the issue is mixed.
“At Smith’s, our goal is we are going to do away with plastic bags in the year 2025,” said Assistant Manager Autumn Butler. “So it would be something that we are working toward, just sooner.”
Butler said the Smith’s corporate goal is for all stores to be zero-waste to landfill by 2025. This includes plastic and cardboard recycling, and recycling food waste into animal feed through a program called “cow chow.”
The store is still learning about the corporate plan, Butler said, and working to pass that information on to customers. If the Logan ban passes, it would simply speed up one element of the plan, Butler said.
“It’s just the right thing to do to be concerned about the environment,” Butler said. “It’s definitely in our goals.”
President of Lee’s Marketplace Jonathan Badger said his company agrees with the need to be responsible for plastic waste, but they do not think a plastic bag ban will noticeably impact the waste issue.
“However,” Badger said, “I think the impact from a consumer standpoint and a business standpoint will be far greater having to ban those plastic bags.”
Badger said the management team at Lee’s wants to focus more on education as a way to reduce waste.
“We give people a little wooden nickel,” Badger said, “five cents, for every reusable bag they use in our store, which goes into a fund that then helps us plant trees in our community in the valley.”
According to Badger, Lee’s is one of many local businesses that has signed a letter in opposition to the ban. This letter will be sent to the Municipal Council before the ordinance is voted on.
Badger said he wants to see more options considered for addressing plastic waste.
“We could work as a county or a city to find a way to recycle the plastic bags,” Badger said.
While grocery stores could feel the impact of the ban more than other stores because of the sheer number of single-use plastic bags they distribute, the ban would affect nearly all retailers in Logan if it was passed.
As written, the ordinance would ban single-use plastic bags from places like grocery stores, convenience stores, drugstores and hardware stores.
The definition of a retailer in the ban also includes “outlets selling general merchandise of any kind, apparel, food (whether prepared or not), beverages, tools, recreational products.”
The proposed ordinance does allow retailers to provide customers with reusable cloth bags or thicker plastic bags. Disposable paper bags would still be permitted under the ban.
Jewely Swensen, a clerk at the Island Market, said her store supports the ban and is already preparing for its implementation.
Swenson said paper bags have already been purchased for customer use, and a promotion to encourage people to use reusable bags is being considered.
Because Island Market customers tend to only come in for a few items, Swenson said she thinks the ban would have a different impact on larger grocery stores.
“I do think it is going to be a bigger challenge for other stores,” Swenson said. “People are so used to not bringing their bags. They are so used to having people bag their items for (them).”
President of the Cache Chamber of Commerce Jamie Andrus said the chamber is supporting the letter Badger and others are signing to oppose the ban as written.
Andrus said many businesses’ representatives came to the chamber and said the ban would impact businesses located in Logan unfairly and that they would prefer to see countywide efforts.
Andrus said the businesses were also concerned the ban could lead people to shop more online.
“I think that is an issue that we really have with our businesses,” Andrus said. “Our retail businesses are hurting a lot because of that,” Andrus said.
A public hearing regarding the proposed ban will be at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 5 at Logan City Hall, 290 N. 100 West.