Plastic Bag Ban Update and Action Steps

Please help us rid our beautiful community of plastic bags! These unnecessary items are adding to pollution, filling our landfills, and endangering our wildlife.  Below is a wonderful summary by one of our UKAN Environmental Team members.

By Nate Collins

Bill Details:

Florida Senate Bill 162 (https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2017/00162)

Last Action: 3/23/2017 Senate – Now in Community Affairs -SJ 243

Community Affairs Members (contact links found at https://www.flsenate.gov/Committees/Show/CA)
Chair: Senator Tom Lee (R)

[District (813) 653-7061; Tallahassee (850) 487-5020]

Vice Chair: Senator Jeff Clemens (D)

[District (561) 540-1140; Tallahassee (850) 487-5031]

Senator Aaron Bean (R)

[District (904) 757-5039; Tallahassee (850) 487-5004]

Senator Jeff Brandes (R)

[District (727) 563-2100; Tallahassee (850) 487-5024]

Senator Daphne Campbell (D)

[District (305) 493-6009; Tallahassee (850) 487-5038]

Senator Keith Perry (R)

[District (352) 264-4040; Tallahassee (850) 487-5008]

Senator Jose Javier  Rodriguez (D)

[District (305) 854-0365; Tallahassee (850) 487-5037]

Senator David Simmons (R)

[District (407) 262-7578; Tallahassee (850) 487-5009]

 

Florida House Bill 93 (https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2017/00093)

Last Action: 3/7/2017 House – Introduced -HJ 37

GENERAL BILL by Richardson ;

(CO-INTRODUCERS) Altman ; Baez ; Geller ; Jacobs ; Raschein ; Slosberg ; Smith

  • Ban would start no earlier than 1/1/2018 and expire no later than 6/30/2020.
  • Both bills state that no tax/fee can be charged.

Where we are at:

2/2017 – Venice, Florida passes plastic bag ordinance.

3/28/2017 – Dania Beach and Melbourne, Florida all voted on resolutions:

3/28/2017 – Nathan Collins sent emails to all Monroe County commissioners to ask if they would sponsor a resolution to support the plastic bag ban bill.  One aide said she received the email. No commissioners have responded with interest. (see example at the end of this post)

4/3/2017 – North Port, Florida (Resolution No. 2017-R-10) commissioners support legislation that would allow them to exercise home rule in regulating single-use plastic bags, but did not agree to take steps to ban.

4/3/2017 – Sarasota city commissioners approved a single-use bag resolution. That resolution suggests Sarasota would pursue a ban, if given the option by the state.

4/6/2017 – Elizabeth Jolin said she may contact Village Council of Islamorada to see if they would do a resolution.

4/9/2017 – Received email from Susan White:

We might want to consider starting an awareness campaign with local businesses, like Publix, etc.  I fought this battle with Publix in Key Largo some months ago.  I learned that corporate policy is to say to customers at check out, “Is plastic ok?” In practice, at check out, plastic bags are automatic used unless the customer specifically requests paper or brings a reusable bag.  I talked with corporate and they agreed to do some “demonstration projects” in certain markets.  Publix has a sustainability policy posted on their website, but no evidence of how this policy is implemented.  Happy to share my experience with Publix.

4/11/2017 – Nathan Collins spoke to Fred Swanson of Middle Keys Action Network (MKAN).  They and GLEE (involved with ‘Got your bags?” campaign) will be sitting out in front of Marathon Publix and Marathon Kmart on Earth Day (March 22, 2017) to hand out reusable bags and educate customers who stop at the tables.

4/14/2017 – Nathan Collins found a full list of Florida cities that currently have plastic bag related resolutions.  https://florida.surfrider.org/?page_id=1034

4/14/2017 – Nathan Collins wrote to Holly Raschein to find out what is the next step for Florida House Bill 93.

UKAN Call to Action Steps:

  • Message UKAN’s Lindsey Crews (https://www.facebook.com/lindsey.crews.18) if you can obtain reusable bags or volunteer to educate visitors about the need to reduce single-use plastic. She will be teaching the community to make plastic bag, sleeping mats for the homeless (Operation Bedroll) at Key Largo Library (Friday, April 21).
  • Call Florida Representative Holly Raschein [(305) 453-1202] and thank her for introducing Florida House Bill 93. Ask her what the next step for this bill is and when that should happen.
  • Call Florida Senate Community Affairs Members (contact information listed above) to urge them to pass Florida Senate Bill 162.
  • Call Monroe County commissioners to urge them to sponsor a plastic bag ban resolution. District 5 is for Key Largo.
    • Name                                     Title                          Email                                                            Phone
    • Carruthers, Heather District 3               boccdis3@monroecounty-fl.gov                 (305) 292-3430
    • Murphy, Sylvia                   District 5               boccdis5@monroecounty-fl.gov                 (305) 453-8787
    • Neugent, George District 2               boccdis2@monroecounty-fl.gov                 (305) 872-1678
    • Rice, David                   District 4               boccdis4@monroecounty-fl.gov                 (305) 289-6000
    • Kolhage, Danny District 1               boccdis1@monroecounty-fl.gov                 (305) 292-3440
  • Attend next UKAN meeting April 18th. Discuss root cause of single-use plastic problem.  Come up with a plan of action to move forward to reduce consumption of single-use plastics.

 

Example of Correspondence to send to our local Commissioners:

Dear Commissioners Kolhage, Neugent, Carruthers, Rice, and Murphy,

I am member of the Upper Keys Action Network (UKAN) and a resident of Key Largo.  I have taken the initiative to look into recent Florida House Bill 93 (https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2017/93/?Tab=BillHistory) and Florida Senate Bill 162 (https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2017/00162) which are related to banning plastic bags in coastal communities.

Plastic grocery bags are listed as the #8 most collected litter by the Ocean Conservancy in 2015. (http://www.oceanconservancy.org/our-work/marine-debris/2016-data-release/2016-data-release-1.pdf)  These unnecessary items are adding to pollution, filling our landfills, and endangering our wildlife.

I have read that three cities in Florida are voting tonight on resolutions to support these two bills (https://www.change.org/p/ban-plastic-bags-in-florida/u/19831937?utm_medium=email&utm_source=49594&utm_campaign=petition_update&sfmc_tk=NOkBcAZAsbkdQRcdygc4iLZA9fz8SOnEQ0uisu3RfQ69RHJKaIiuYRJPlMAygsUx)

I was wondering if we could work with any of you to sponsor a resolution in support of SB162 and HB93 to be voted on during the next BOCC meeting.

Here is a good article about whether plastic bag bans really work.  https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/do-plastic-bag-bans-work/

Thank you for any help that you can offer.

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