Last Updated: February 10, 2019, 3:40 pm

Utah grocery stores should start charging for plastic bags

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Utah lawmakers are suggesting a new way to help save the planet, and I am all for it.

Utah legislators are currently debating on introducing a law that would charge shoppers 10 cents for every paper or plastic bag used. The money spent on paper and plastic bags would go toward improving Utah’s landfills and recycling programs.

Charging for bags is the best idea Utah could ever come up with. 

Other counties and cities around the United States have laws in place that charge shoppers for plastic and paper bags. Those include Boulder, Colorado, Brownsville, Texas, Montgomery County, Maryland, New York City, Portland, Maine and Washington D.C.

Montgomery County, Maryland, and Washington D.C. are two places I have had the opportunity to visit. I remember the first time I went out shopping; I thought it was interesting that stores were charging their shoppers 5 cents for bags. It made me really think about the impact it was having on the city and county, as well as the environmental impact it was having. A study shows the 5 cent charge for bags has reduced the amount of plastic bag usage in Washington D.C. and there is less plastic bag litter throughout the city.

Washington D.C. is heavily populated with people, but somehow it feels and looks cleaner than other places I’ve traveled to around the country. I began to think a possible reason the city was clean was because it charges for plastic bags and the citizens are encouraged to use reusable bags. The amount of plastic bag usage has decreased 60 percent since the 5 cent law charge on bags was put into place. Washington D.C. has put other environmentally friendly factors into place such as rooftop gardens and cleaning up the Anacostia River to make it a cleaner city. 

Once I returned back to Utah, I vowed to myself that I was going to only use reusable bags and encourage others to do the same.

The hope for Utah lawmakers is by putting this bill into place, it will encourage more Utahns to use reusable bags for shopping.

Nothing is more encouraging than the potential of being charged money for something as simple as a paper or plastic bag for shoppers to get their hands on their own reusable bag. The average cost of reusable bags falls between 99 cents and $3. If you buy a reusable bag that is $3, you would make your money back in 10 trips, since on average, each person uses three bags per trip to the grocery store.

It is time to start doing what we can to save the planet and something as simple as using a reusable bag will go a long way.

Get yourself to the store, buy yourself a reusable bag and feel satisfied with your decision to not use plastic bags when grocery shopping.

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