Florida Officials Discuss Statewide Bag Ban

By: Denise Wong Email
By: Denise Wong Email

At the end of the day, Peggy Carlson is loading up the family SUV with groceries and plastic bags.

"I usually use those cloth bags," says Carlson. "But I just got out of the house and I forgot to get them."

State environmental officials want to encourage more shoppers to use those reusable bags. That's why, this week, Florida's Department of Environmental Protection issued a preliminary report which recommends phasing out the use of plastic and paper shopping bags over the next few years.

"The idea is that we could decrease the number of bags in the state over time by a graduated fee and be able to ultimately get no bags in Florida," explains Mary Jean Yon, Director of Waste for the Department of Environmental Protection.

The recommendation? Starting in July of 2011, shoppers would be charged five cents for every paper or plastic bag. The cost per bag would go up five cents each year until 2015. That's when a ban would take effect - prohibiting stores from providing most paper and plastic bags.

At this point, officials stress it's just one of many ideas. But it's one that has people talking.

"I think that wouldn't be too bad an idea," says David Fields, a Tallahassee Resident.

"I think it's ridiculous," says Harold Waters, a Tallahassee resident, who says he often finds other uses for the plastic bags he gets from stores.

"I think it's a horrible idea," says Bradley Maxwell, a Tallahassee resident. "I just think that government has their hands in too many aspects of our lives already."

State environmental officials plan to hold public workshops, like the one scheduled for November 19, before it submits any official report to lawmakers to review next year.


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  • by Donna Location: Florida on Mar 3, 2010 at 09:34 AM
    If they can do it in France, we can do it here. We had to use our own bags when shopping. As tourists, we had to follow suit. Great idea! They were very clean in Nice. Recycle bins everywhere and totes for all. Our grandparents used baskets, burlap, etc. We can do this. We are "trained" as a society. We can change again. Florida is doing the right thing! Hope all States pick up the cause.
  • by oh yea Location: tally on Oct 21, 2009 at 04:21 PM
    Feeling ill??? ...state line is due north.
  • by Wow on Oct 21, 2009 at 04:05 PM
    Florida certainly doesn't have any other MAJOR issues, so I can see why they are focusing on something so important! I can not believe with all of the detrimental issues we as a state and nation are facing that we are or can seriously even look at an issue like this during the times of bankruptcy, foreclosure, failed housing market, unemployment, health care and the list goes on and on and on...And you want to talk about a BAG! Unbelievable priorities !!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • by Emily Location: Valdosta on Oct 21, 2009 at 01:27 PM
    One additional comment and/or thought - I hate plastic ANYTHING ! Give me glass! Remember when milk came in glass and so did soft drinks? Let's go back to those days. The tree farmer will have to redirect - actually he can continue what he's doing but his buyers will have to change - he can sell his trees for lumber or some such instead of paper bags. For every solution there always seems to be a down-side but we are AMERICANS! We can make it work!
  • by SS Location: WAKILLA on Oct 21, 2009 at 12:56 PM
    How far did the over educated, highly paid idiots fall,to come up with such a dumb ideal as doing away with all PLASTIC AND PAPER recycle bags!! That means that all your house rugs will go back to the material of old, and that is not good, in this MOLD for sacking state. If they follow the trail of where and what the bags become after there used, they would find that the price of everything would sky rocket. You even have some in that nice dash and trim of your overpriced Mercedes, Lexus or BMW. Only this state could think of that, WHAT IS THE MATTER, CAN'T ANYONE FIND ANYTHING TO DO.
  • by Emily Location: Valdosta on Oct 21, 2009 at 12:37 PM
    Long ago and far away I lived in a foreign country where there were no bags; free or otherwise. We used a tote made of a large net similar to those of a woven hammock or fishnet. It rolled up quite small in a purse and so was no problem to transport but the most wonderful thing that I recall about that country was that there wasn't any street litter! Everything was recycled and reused and relished! The people there truly could not afford to waste and even a piece of paper no bigger than a gum wrapper was put to good use. We could do the same. I won't go so far as to think that we consumers would see any decrease in costs but we probably would have cleaner streets and families wouldn't be arguing about whose turn it is to take out the garbage!!
  • by Anonymous on Oct 21, 2009 at 11:14 AM
    Grocery stores already pass the cost of bags along to the customers in their product prices. I usually ask for paper bags because they are easier to place in my vehicle. I then recycle them as trash bags for my garage and for containing other recycle items like aluminum cans and plastic drink bottles.
  • by Uggggg on Oct 21, 2009 at 10:01 AM
    Florida is really beginning to make me ill.
  • by Donna Location: Pinellas Park, Florida on Oct 20, 2009 at 06:24 PM
    I went to Nice, France. Everyone brings their own bag or tote. I am all for plastic ban. We are "trained" to take what we get. We used to use paper, remember? Recycle bags are much more sturdy anyway. This is good change!
  • by great idea Location: tally on Oct 20, 2009 at 08:26 AM
    Target announced a 5 cent discount for using your own bags and it doesn't have to be target's brand name bag...imagine that.
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