St. Pete Considers Ban on Single-Use Plastic Bags

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The Burg is a progressive city with residents committed to protecting the environment. On July 27, a St. Pete Council committee will hear the single-use bag ban ordinance for the first time. The five member committee will read it, discuss it, and vote on whether or not the ordinance can move forward in the implementation process.

Residents are welcome to join the meeting at City Hall; however, there will be no public comment period. If you’re unable to make the meeting you’re invited to send a message to your city council representative to let them know how you feel about the ordinance.

Find your council member by visiting the City’s website.

Residents write letters to City Council to voice their opinion 

On July 13, members of the Suncoast Sierra Club, the Suncoast Surfrider Foundation and concerned citizens wrote over 100 postcards and mailed them to members of City Council pushing the Ban the Bag initiative.

We are a coastal city and want to fully explore any way we can reduce the use of plastic bags, many of which wind up in our bay. Plastic bags pose a tremendous threat to marine life as well as ruin boat motors. So it’s a win-win plan to figure out how to limit plastics that pollute.

– Darden Rice, St. Pete Council Chair

Burg could become second Florida city to ban single-use plastics 

In May of this year Coral Gables became the first Florida city to ban the use of single-use, carryout plastic bags. The ordinance prohibits the use of plastic bags by retailers in Coral Cables and at city events, reports the Lance Dixon, writer for the Miami Herald.

Fines for violating this ordinance range from $50-$500. Retailers have one full year to fully abide the ordinance. The Miami Herald notes that there are exceptions to the ordinance:

The ordinance does provide for exceptions including: plastic bags that the shopper provides, plastic bags without handles, bags used to hold prescription medicines at a pharmacy or veterinarian’s office, dry cleaning bags, pet waste bags, yard waste or trash bags and newspaper bags.

Indie Market transitions to Ocean Friendly Business 

St. Pete has already taken major strides to become a sustainable city. Indie Market founder Rosey Williams partnered with Thomas Paterek of Suncoast Surfrider Foundation to become Tampa Bay’s largest Ocean Friendly Business (OFB).

This partnership ensures that all vendors over the course of 2017 will operate their businesses without single-use plastics.

“We’re extremely excited that the St Pete Indie Market has taken the pledge to reduce their environmental impact for hundreds of incredible vendors. This commitment not only speaks to future thinking of the organization, but the understanding of how small steps can lead to a big change, something worthy of celebration,”

– Thomas Paterek, chair of Suncoast Surfrider Foundation.

Burg commits to 100% clean energy 

in 2016, St. Pete became the 20th US city to commit to 100% clean energy.  This decision ensures the city will allocate $250k of BP Oil Spill settlement funds to an “Integrated Sustainability Action Plan,” which will chart a roadmap to 100% clean, renewable energy in the Burg.

The July 27 meeting takes place from 3:30-4:30pm at St. Pete City Hall, 175 5th Street North. The Suncoast Rise Above Plastics Coalition has created an events page that further details the ordinance.

Written by Andrew Harlan

Andrew Harlan is in his third year as Writer/Editor of iLovetheBurg.com. New York Times bestselling author Andre Dubus III has said of him, “Andrew Harlan has a sharp and discerning eye for detail that deftly captures character and landscape." He has published fiction and poetry in Sabal and Prime Number Literary Magazine. He graduated with honors from Eckerd College in 2013 with a B.A. in Creative Writing and a minor in Literature. He can be reached by phone: (727) 896-3435 or email: andrew@rkc.me