Monday, April 6, 2015

Alert! Sen. Bullard's SB 966 Disposable Plastic Bags bill up in Committee Wednesday

Sen. Bullard’s SB 0966 Disposable Plastic Bags will be heard in the Senate Environmental Protection and Conservation Committee on Wednesday, April 8 at 1:30 p.m. 

Please call committee members and urge them to vote YES for this good bill!  Be sure to thank Chairman Dean for putting the bill on the agenda.

 Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation 2015
Sen. Charles Dean, Chair          850-487-5005
Sen. Wilton Simpson, V. Chair 850-487-5018
Sen. Thad Altman                     850-487-5016
Sen. Greg Evers                        850-487-5002
Sen. Alan Hays                         850-487-5011
Sen. David Simmons                850-487-5010
Sen. Christopher Smith             850-487-5031
Sen. Darren Soto                      850-487-5014,,,,,,,,

What the bill does

SB 966 authorizes municipalities with a population under 100,000 to establish a pilot program to regulate or ban plastic bags.  The municipality would have to pass an ordinance establishing the pilot program by the end of this year that would start Jan. 1, 2016 and would expire on June 30, 2018 (2 ½ years.)  During the pilot program the municipality would have to collect data relating to the impact of the regulation or ban, submit a report to the governing body of the municipality at a public hearing by April 1, 2018, and provide a copy of the report to DEP.

The municipality can continue to regulate or ban plastic bags if it adopts a new ordinance after April 1, 2018 (after the public hearing).

Talking points
  • Plastic bags create unsightly litter that can block stormwater drains.  Both of these problems cause unnecessary expense for local governments and taxpayers
  • They end up in water bodies where they foul the environment for wildlife.  Bags or pieces of bags are mistaken for food, especially when they are brightly colored and moving in water.   When they are ingested by animals they can choke them or cause blockages that can be fatal.
  • Plastic bags contribute to the plastic gyres in the world’s oceans and pose threats to ocean life.
  • They are made from non-renewable sources such as petroleum, natural gas, and coal, and their manufacture creates greenhouse gases
  • They do not biodegrade because polyethylene is not recognized by microbes as food.  However, they do break down in sunlight into smaller and smaller synthetic granules that will remain in the environment (and interfere with the food web) for a long, long time.
  • Bringing your own bag is simple and inexpensive.  It’s the responsible thing to do!