In an effort to encourage customers to bring their own reusable bags, St. Petersburg City Council is considering a proposal that would make stores and restaurants charge their customers a nickle for single-use bags. St. Petersburg officials believe that, if adopted, it would be the first law of its kind in the State of Florida.
“We’re kind of an accidental pioneer on this,” council member Gina Driscoll told the Tampa Bay Times. “I’m hoping this … ordinance will help us be known as a leader in single use plastics.”
The proposal would also bring revenue to the city’s water cleanup fund. See, of each nickle from each disposable bag purchased, four cents would go to the water cleanup fund. One penny would go to the retailers who currently give the bags out for free. Now, if the businesses offer an incentive program of some kind, they could earn a second penny per bag too.
Managing Assistant City Attorney Michael Dema authored the draft ordinance. He presented it to the Health, Energy, Resiliency and Sustainability Committee this past Thursday.
The proposal even includes paper bags, because they do have an environmental footprint in that they contribute to deforestation. The pulping process of making paper bags also demands the use of water, energy and chemicals.
This ordinance would go against a 2008 Florida statute directed strangely by the that pre-empts plastic bag regulation while the Florida Department of Environmental Protection looks into way to discourage single-use bag use. The council says that they’re aware of this contradiction, but that it wouldn’t be a ban.
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