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Park City bag ban: we can do this

The Park Record editorial, May 20-23, 2017

The Park City Council, last week, took a bold, proactive stand by voting to ban single-use plastic bags. The measure will go into effect at the end of June in stores within the city limits encompassing more that 12,000 feet.

The new rule reinforces the council's consistent emphasis on environmental sustainability, but will likely draw a barrage of complaints at local grocery store checkout stands. Nevertheless, it was the right decision. In fact, residents should be proud that their town is the first in the state to take action to reduce the growing environmental menace.

Unfortunately, as written, the ban only applies to the town's three local grocery stores.

Despite Park City's vocal support for environmental causes, one local grocer told The Park Record that only eight percent of his customers use recyclable bags. And, once the ban is in place, he will be faced with an uncomfortable dilemma — whether to provide more costly paper bags at his own expense or charge shoppers who don't bring their own recyclable bags.

That could put Park City businesses at a competitive disadvantage – unless Parkites stand alongside the council — and their local grocers — by embracing the bag ban.

We hope they will.

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It should not be a hardship. Grocery stores and local nonprofits like Recycle Utah have been handing out cloth and vinyl bags for years and most households have a colorful collection of sturdy tote bags stuffed in closet corners and in their cars. Shoppers just need to get in the habit of using them.

Summit County could also show its solidarity with the city by enacting a matching ordinance. That would discourage those who'd prefer to shop in Kimball Junction just for the convenience of a single-use shopping bag.

Our prediction is that it won't be long before stores, in general, bow to public pressure and stop offering single-use bags altogether. Imagine this: no more tattered plastic bags tangled in the sagebrush or fence lines woven with trash. And Parkites will be able to say their town was a trendsetter.