While Miami news station WPLG reports that this move could benefit the environment as Floridians use an estimated 5 billion disposable bags per year, this legislation could cost residents extra cash as well.
Earlier this month, the Department of Environmental Protection released its “Retail Bags Report” draft. According to the report, the phase-out would start with public education, graduated fees, followed by a total ban on the bags at all retail stores.
“The greatest concern I have, as to how it would relate to that, would be how it would impact our environment,” says Gov. Charlie Crist as reported by WPLG. “It’s hard to grow up in Florida and not care about our beauty.”
According to the American Chemistry Council, about 89 billion plastic bags, sacks and wraps are used each year in the U.S. while Americans use an estimated 10 billion paper bags.
During production, plastic bags generate 50 percent less greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, require 70 percent less energy and produce 80 percent less waste than their paper alternatives. However, because of their light weight, many curbside recycling programs do not accept plastic bags or film. And while brown paper bags are recyclable, only 10 to 15 percent are returned for recycling.