Should Our Cities Ban Harmful Things?

Way back in May I mentioned that L.A. had just made history by becoming the largest U.S. city to ban plastic grocery bags.

But Provo is a lot smaller than L.A., so does it really matter if a medium-sized city outlaws harmful pollutants?

A recent Atlantic Cities article seems to think so. The article details how a Massachusetts town recently banned styrofoam takeout containers. The town is less than half the size of Provo, but the author ultimately comes to the conclusion that such efforts might be useful because they can spill over into neighboring communities and because they are symbolic. And of course, they also have a small actual impact on the environment.

Recycling cans are becoming just as common as garbage cans in Provo. That makes a positive difference in many ways.

To that I would add that less harmful waste in local landfills actually saves money.

A local example of these phenomena is glass recycling. In July I noted that Salt Lake City is recycling glass and wondered when Provo would do the same. Six months later, Provo has followed the example of its neighbor to the north and is now working on it.

The point here is that small changes do make a difference.

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