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Cerabino: Town of Palm Beach finds plastic ban not in the bag

September 10, 2019

The Palm Beach Post,

Frank Cerabino,

September 9, 2019-

If you think it’s high time that Florida gets serious about the environmental hazards posed by single-use plastic bags, straws and polystyrene containers, there’s good news and bad news in recent developments. Mostly bad news. It was nine years ago that the Florida Department of Environmental Regulation recommended that the state take dramatic action to curb plastic waste. The state agency called for a graduated tax on plastic bags, beginning with 5 cents per bag for the first year, then escalating to 25 cents per bag, and finally to ban plastic bags in the state by 2015.

Not only did that not happen, but it created a backlash that still exists, thanks to the lobbying heft of the Florida Retail Federation and the American Legislative Exchange Council, a national group that writes legislation for Republican-led governments to enact. Instead of a gradual ban on plastic bags — 88 percent of which are thrown away rather than recycled — Florida lawmakers ignored their own state agency’s recommendations while passing a law that preempted the power of any local government in the state to pass an ordinance that regulated plastic in any way. (They did the same thing with firearms.)

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