Hailey, Idaho, voters going to the polls to decide on plastic bag ban

On November 8th, voters in Hailey, Idaho, will have an interesting choice when they go to place their votes. A group of high school students from Wood River High School has pushed to put a plastic bag ban onto this year's ballot, a green initiative that they hope will cut down on the amount of waste heading to local landfills. While this should help to dramatically reduce the amount of plastic that is used in the community, some residents are wary of instituting a full-scale ban on these products, according to the Times-News.

Plastic bag bans have been effective in cities like San Francisco and Telluride, Colorado, but it's the local economy that could take a hit from the mandate. A local plastic bag manufacturer, Hilex Poly, believes that the ban will negatively affect its business and put its 125 employees at risk of losing their jobs. As a result, the company has been pushing for increased recycling education programs and encouraging residents to recycle their bags instead of allowing them to end up in the trash.

The ban is also a problem for local grocery store owners. Chip Atkinson, owner of Atkinsons' Market in Hailey, has seen a 27 percent reduction in plastic bag use after he pushed the use of reusable bags in his stores. This has allowed him to save nearly $7,000 per year, but if the ban passes, he will likely lose money because he pays nine cents more for each paper bag over plastic ones.

Hopefully, the community will find a middle ground that combines a reduction in plastic bag use with an increase in recycling to support the local economy and help to create a greener community.