Legislation to allow local government to ban the use of plastic bags in supermarkets got a surprise hearing at the Capitol today. It was doomed from the beginning because of a ten cent bag fee, but the hearing itself was a message about the future.
Whole Foods stopped using plastic bags in 2008. We found Elizabeth Halverson shopping at the chain with her own reusable bag. "Whenever you bring a bag you get to donate ten cents to the Whole Planet Foundation."
Customers also have the option of taking a dime a bag off their purchase. Whole Foods says the dime adds up to about five million a year to charities nationwide.
Legislation at the Capitol would have allowed local governments to ban plastic bags altogether.
Under the legislation, only big grocery stores and pharmacies would have to offer paper bags for a dime if you didn't bring your own bag, but half of that money would have gone to education.
The ten cent fee doomed the bag bill. "And I cannot support the bill with that one provision in it."
Florida retailers don't like it. “We would ask that you oppose this bill”, says Samantha Padgett of the Florida Retails Federation. "If you want to be able to carry your bags home in a plastic bag, we don't want to just shove your goods across the counter and say, you know, carry them yourself or pay us five or ten cents."
No tax Republicans on the panel also praised the intent of getting plastic out of the environment, says Senator Charles Dean of Inverness. “I want to commend you, it is good thinking about the future of Florida, and I appreciate it."
Environmentalist Holly Parker says just having the bill heard was a victory for the future.
"And in Florida, only 12 percent are recycled and or reused"
So while the legislation was withdrawn before it could be voted down, the hearing sends the message that sooner or later, plastic bags will be on the endangered list.
690 thousand tons of plastic bags and plastic wrappers are manufactured annually, only 4.3% are recycled.