In its meeting this week, the Logan Municipal Council was presented alternatives for the city’s plastic bag ban following its postponement due to COVID-19. The proposal was presented by Logan Environmental Director Issa Hamud.
“We feel that it’s about time to move this management plan, but it’s up to you how we feel about it,” Hamud said to the council during the Nov. 16 meeting.
Hamud’s biggest concern currently is that plastic waste is causing issues for the environment and the landfills. State and federal rules prohibit litter surrounding landfills, but wind blows plastic litter out of containment. Unfortunately, Hamud noted, plastic waste litter control is expensive and contaminates recycling.
“There aren’t a lot of viable recycling options as well,” he added.
Currently the landfill uses fences to try and contain plastic litter. Hamud also shared some other things that are being done to develop the program, such as the 2019 community and retail assessment on bag distribution and plastic waste education campaigns over social media.
The bag assessment showed that on average, in 2019, two and a half bags were used per person, per day.
The department has also met with manufacturers and retailers to workshop how plastic usage can be decreased on their end as well. Hamud stated that most of the retailers and manufactures wanted to have even ground and have the same policy in all the stores.
“Our objective is to minimize plastic waste nuisances,” Hamud said. “That’s our goal, not to, as some people think, regulate plastics. Our intent is just to do what we do the best we can to minimize plastic litter. That’s what we’re working on.”
Another point Hamud hit on was being a good neighbor and making the decision easy for both residents and retailers to comply with. With this in mind, he proposed two options for requirements, both for consumer plastic reduction and retailer plastic reduction.
The two options for consumer plastic reduction requirements are as follows:
Option 1: Recycling. Businesses would implement plastic bag/film recycling at the facility and provide reports quarterly.
Option 2: Containment. Businesses would bundle bags sufficiently before being disposed of with the garbage so that plastic bag waste cannot blow away at the landfill or transfer station or from the trucks.
The two options for retailer plastic reduction were:
Option 1: Retailers would eliminate free single-use plastic bags or implement an approved recycling program.
Option 2: Retailers would provide plastic bags only if the retailer charges a 10-cent fee per bag supplied (retailer keeps the revenue).
“If you are satisfied with this and you like it, you can consider repealing your ordinance,” Hamud told the council. “We want your support. I think this will do what we want to be done and it’s worthwhile.”
Currently the ban on plastic bags is set to take effect in January 2022. It would prohibit all plastic bags, from pharmacy and grocery store bags to bags used for wrapping meat or flowers. Retailers who used single-use plastic bags or sold them in stores could be fined $250 for the first violation and $500 for the second.
Ordinance 19-24 passed in December of 2019, with support from Amy Anderson, Jeannie Simmonds and Herm Olsen. Jess Bradfield and Tom Jensen voted against it.
“I was always in support of this. I just didn’t like the individual Logan City mandate,” Jensen told Hamud in response to his presentation.
Originally the ban was supposed to take effect in April 2021 but was postponed due to the nature of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many concerns about the ban were in relation to communicating and cooperating with other municipalities as well as Cache County. Humad recognized this issue and explained that support from the Logan Municipal Council might encourage other areas to support the Cache County waste management program as well.
“We want the county consensus because it’s a county issue,” said Mark Anderson, council chairman.
Hamud added he would be willing to go to other city councils to present the information if asked. He is looking for support from the County Council as well.
Because this was a workshop item, the council has not taken a vote. A vote is tentatively set for the following council meeting on Dec. 7.