News Section: State Government
Plastic Bag Bill Dies Again in Tallahassee
BRADENTON – A perennial effort to reduce the amount of plastic bags being produced and thrown into landfills stalled last week, and supporters will have to wait and try again next year. A bill that would have allowed local governments to ban plastic bags, while assessing a small charge to buyers who used paper ones provided by the store was pulled and will not see the floor in 2014.
Under SB 830, local governments would have been empowered to prohibit stores from using plastic bags at all, while charging shoppers who opted for paper bags 10 cents per bag.
Senator Dwight Bullard (D-Cutler Bay) sponsored the bill, which seemed to catch a snag on the paper bag charge, which many legislators saw as a tax.
An approach where tax credits were given to stores that aggressively sought to eliminate plastic bags was seen as having a better chance at passing.
Bullard said that he pushed for the legislation at the urging of elementary school students in his district, who were concerned about the long-term environmental consequences of relying on disposable bags when shopping for groceries and other goods.
Over a trillion plastic bags are used worldwide every year, with the bulk of them consumed by the United States and China. They can take up to a thousand years to degrade in a landfill and almost 90 percent of them are not recycled.
Around 4,000,000 tons of plastic bags, sack and wraps are produced each year, and while that greatly increases our need for landfill space, around 10 percent of it winds up in the ocean where the U.N. estimates that there are about 46,000 pieces of floating plastic in each square mile.
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