Plastic bag debate drifts to Utah

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Whitney Hales
BYU psychology student Hannah Hebertson carries her groceries in reusable shopping bags on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017. Several local grocery stores, including Smith’s and Macey’s, sell reusable bags. (Whitney Hales)

The plastic bag debate is floating through cities and states across the nation as lawmakers and voters question whether they should regulate them.

The Utah state legislature considered in both 2016 and 2017 a law that would have charged grocery store customers 10 cents per single-use paper or plastic bag.

The Daily Universe interviewed Jani Iwamoto, D-Highland, the Utah state senator who introduced both the 2016 and 2017 bill, and Brent Beardsley, the public programs manager at the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium, to learn more about the use and impact of single-use plastic bags in Utah.

Neither the 2016 bill nor the 2017 bill was passed in the Senate.

California voters decided in November to ban single-use plastic bags, and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently overturned a New York City law that would have imposed fees on consumers requiring bags.