SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) – Local shoppers could soon find fewer bagging options at checkout lines — that is, if a local 5th grader has his way.
Ten year-old, Liam Mountain LaMalfa is proposing to ban Salt Lake City retailers from using plastic bags.
“I really think that we can get this passed,” Liam said.
The project started as a class essay assignment at Uintah Elementary School that Liam says sparked his interest last spring, so he began researching the topic further.
“It did not look like plastic bags were really good in any way,” he said.
“He just got really fired up about it and wanted to take some steps,” recalled Lisa Mountain, Liam’s mom.
Those steps eventually lead to a petition with several hundred signatures and counting.
“What better way to show your support than to sign your name on a paper?” Liam smiled.
Plastic bags are already banned from retailers in several countries and in the State of California. Sustainableamerica.org reports that about 80 percent of them used come from North America and Western Europe, despite the growing movement to ‘go green.’
“Even if you manage to actually get them to the landfill, they take about a thousand years to decompose…” Liam said. “Reusable bags are the alternative,” he explained.
Like many grocery retailers, Reams Food Stores already has incentive programs to encourage shoppers to use reusable bags. Employees say the biggest problem for people seems to be simply changing their habits.
“I’ve had a few in my house, but I don’t bring them in my car, so I never have them,” said Ellen Jackson, a Reams Food Store shopper.
“So, it’s a convenience thing?” Good 4 Utah’s Ali Monsen asked.
“It is,” Jackson said.
“[This] has to be addressed, so I appreciate this young man’s concern,” another shopper said.
Shoppers say they are open to alternatives, and now the initiative has caught the Salt Lake City Council’s attention too!
“I’m going to try to… tell them exactly what I’m going for,” Liam said.
Liam’s main goal is to try and convince the city council to put the proposal on the ballot to vote on at some point next year. He and his friends will be making their case at the meeting on December 6th.