Did you know that in the 2019 Utah State Legislative session, Rep. Mike McKell, R-Spanish Fork was pushing a statewide ban on the ban of plastic bags? House Bill 320, which got shot down by several House members, never went to debate, but potentially would have prevented cities from even considering a ban of single-use plastic bags, straws and containers. And, because recycling efforts are generally a local government’s job, if a city or county wishes to improve the planet by reducing the use of consumer plastic—for heck sake—we should let them.

Ban the Bottle too.

Does the # really matter? Resin codes (#1 – #7) are used to identify the type of resin used in making the product, not necessarily whether the product is recyclable or not. A better qualifier is just that the product is made from plastic. Any containers with a screw on top, typically used for soap, beverages, etc. are recyclable in any program.

Logan is now the third city in Utah to adopt a plastic bag ban. In 2017, one of Utah’s more liberal communities, Park City adopted the state’s first ban on plastic bags, followed by Moab in 2018. Being Utah’s big city, the big question is if SLC will join them? While a plastic bag ban may or may not be in works, this is what you can do now.

SLmag recently wrote a revealing post about the do’s and don’ts of our local recycling program, “Is Recycling Broken?” And it’s tricky. Jennifer Farrell, director of education and outreach for Salt Lake City’s Waste and Recycling Division explains, that the renewed priority list for environmental stewardship starts with reducing and reusing plastic packaging and non-recyclables and, adding one new “R” word to that trope: “Refuse.” Don’t take plastic lids. Ask your server not to bring you a straw when you order. Refuse plastic forks and spoons when you order take out. Don’t buy bottled water (like really, ever) and so on and so on. After that, way down the line, priority wise, comes recycling.

How long does plastic take to decompose? According to The Balance Small Business website, “Normally, plastic items can take up to 1,000 years to decompose in landfills. Even plastic bags we use in our everyday life take anywhere from 10 to 1,000 years to decompose, and plastic bottles can take 450 years or more.” Bio-based (made from corn) plastics are a great alternative, but note when recycling, they cannot be mixed with non-biodegradable plastics because they can contaminate the plastic waste and make it non-recyclable.