We appreciate Heather Dorrell’s recent letter, “Salt Lake City must find a way to recycle plastic bags,” and applaud her passion and commitment to recycling. While we agree that plastic bags are a scourge, we disagree on the solution. Recycling is the last of the “three R’s” (reduce, reuse, recycle) for an important reason.

Plastic bags damage processing equipment (not trucks), disrupt the processing of other recyclables and thereby have forced processing facilities across the country to remove bags and film from the acceptable list. Municipalities have responded in kind, including Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County and others across Utah. Read more about Salt Lake City’s decision at slcgreenblog.com/2018/01/10/noplasticbags.

Yes, solutions are needed. Unfortunately plastic bag bans are not currently palatable in Utah. We are, however, working with retailers to encourage dedicated receptacles for plastic bag/film recycling. Please help by making this request of your favorite stores and using reusable bags as often as possible.

The problem with plastic bags goes far beyond whether they can be recycled in curbside programs. The real culprit is their prevalence in our society. Everyone needs to focus on the first “two R’s” to minimize the need for them at all.

Vicki Bennett, Director, Salt Lake City Department of Sustainability, Salt Lake City