Members of the Logan City Council voted 3-2 to approve a ban on single-use plastic bags — becoming the third municipality in the state to do so. The prohibition, spearheaded by Councilman Herm Olsen, will take effect on Earth Day in April as part of an effort to “protect the environment, public health and the economy” by diminishing waste, litter and impacts on recycling equipment, wildlife, water quality and landfill operations.

“This plastic doesn’t disappear,” Olsen said during the council meeting Tuesday, the last one of his 12 years of service in public office. “It breaks down into microbeads of plastic and finds its way into our water system, into our food chain, and is simply unnecessary when we have better alternatives.”

At the same time, the council unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday supporting a county-wide plastic waste management program, which would give retailers the option of whether to eliminate free single-use plastic bags or provide them at a charge of $0.10 each. They can also choose to pay a surcharge of $17.50 per ton of waste they generate.

The city bag ban’s delayed effective date is in part an effort to spur action on the county plan, which requires approval first from the county’s Solid Waste Advisory Board and then the Cache County Council. If it passes, Olsen said the city’s bag ban could be repealed; if it doesn’t, at least the city will have a measure in place to help curb plastic use, he said.

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Photo courtesy of Utah Department of Environmental Quality.