5th-grade student starts petition to ban plastic bags in Salt Lake City stores

SALT LAKE CITY - Plastic bags at Salt Lake City retail stores could soon become a thing of the past if a local 5th grader gets his way.

Liam LaMalfa of Uintah Elementary School said the bags are a huge problem for the environment.

"They take 1,000 years to decompose, and it's just like, 'seriously?!'" LaMalfa said.

Karina Pardus goes through about 60 plastic bags at the grocery store every month.

"Convenience, they are here in the store for me to use," Pardus said.

LaMalfa began advocating against the use of plastic bags after writing a school essay last year.

"He was very fired up about it and wanted to figure out something he could do about it," said his mom, Lisa Mountain.

"I kind of convinced myself with my own essay that they really should be banned," LaMalfa said.

The 10-year-old started a petition demanding the bags be prohibited from all retail stores in the city. So far more than 300 people have signed.

"We are very proud of him that he feels motivated to do this and he feels that he can make a difference even at 10 years old," Mountain said.

LaMalfa said we all need to be carrying reusable bags instead. Some shoppers say a complete ban on plastic isn't realistic.

"I forget my bags when I come to the store way too often," said Will Ronnow.

"It would definitely be an adjustment," Pardus added.

When it comes to saving the environment, LaMalfa said there are no excuses.

"The problem is there are just some people, they just don't understand and in some ways they just aren't responsible enough to actually do it," he said. "We got to do something to really get them to do it."

LaMalfa plans to present his petition to Salt Lake City Council during their next meeting on December 6.

City Councilman Jason Rogers said the idea of a plastic bag ban is something they are taking very seriously. He said they have already conducted research and it could go into effect at some point in the near future.