Letter: Utah Needs to Reduce Its Plastic Consumption


(Courtesy Samar Alzadjali)

By Samar Alzadjali


Plastic bag consumption is increasing as populations and needs are increasing. “Around 4 to 5 trillion plastic bags were created in 2002” and “roughly 80% of those bags were used in North America and Western Europe. Every year, Americans reportedly throw away 100 billion plastic grocery bags.” These statistics were recorded between 2002 and 2004, and now we are in 2020 — it’s likely that we are using even more plastic as time has gone on. 

Why are institutions not banning plastic bags or forcing customers to use fewer bags? 

The Wijsen sisters are wonderful examples and inspiration for plastic bag bans. The sisters came up with the “Bye Bye Plastic Bags” campaign to reduce first and then ban plastic bags in Bali, Indonesia. Banning plastic bags in Utah could be hard, but reducing consumption is possible. 

Utah needs to require supermarkets to sell plastic or paper bags instead of providing them for free. Each paper bag should cost 4 to 6 cents, and each plastic bag should cost 8 to 10 cents. This action would force the customers to purchase reusable bags and reduce their plastic bag usage. Once we get used to it, we should eventually seek to ban plastic usage at supermarkets. 


— Samar Alzadjali, University of Utah Student

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