First of all, we want to thank everyone who came out to rally yesterday, who came to our postcard party earlier this month, who e-mailed and called their city council members, and who were general badasses when it came to supporting the proposed plastic bag ordinance. Rest assured, our voices were heard. Our support was mentioned numerous times throughout the committee discussion, and gave council members the backbone they needed to do the right thing.
A motion was passed 3-1 to move forward with an ordinance draft. The ordinance will apply to single use retail bags only (your poop bags, bin liners, newspaper covers, etc. are safe) and will incorporate incentive programs as well as possible exemptions (e.g. for food banks) and a one year implementation program. Included in the directive is a consideration for including local findings and feedback.
This is a huge step forward, but the work doesn't stop here. Once an ordinance is drafted, it will need to be presented back to the Energy, Natural Resources, & Sustainability Committee. Once it passes the committee, it will head upstairs to city council.
A great thing to do right now is to e-mail the committee members and let them know we support this 100%! Let's thank the people who voted yes, and gently educate the person who voted no. Remember, we're a positive organization, so be nice.
NO VOTER Ed Montanari: firstname.lastname@example.org Council member Montanari wanted to wait until the pending appeal of the Coral Gables case was resolved, but the more cities that stand up together, the better our chances will be. He also wanted to focus more on incentive programs instead of bag regulations. We have an incentive program of our own - the Ocean Friendly Business certification - and think it’d be a great companion to the bag regulation.
The Energy, Natural Resources, & Sustainability Committee need data to draft their ordinance - scientific and anecdotal.
On the anecdotal front, we're asking everyone to please post pictures of wild plastic bags to our Facebook page using the hashtag #FeralBags. The hashtag will help keep the posts organized, and we'll be able to alert the council to the feed. If you can, please clean up the bags once you've photographed them.
We need lots of local business feedback on the ban. If you know of a local business (or if you are one) who might be interested in filling out a short survey, please e-mail us at SuncoastRAP@gmail.com, or message us here on Facebook.
We need scientific data too! If you work with an environmental org, and can contribute scientific data, please get in touch via Facebook or e-mail us at SuncoastRAP@gmail.com
Our work doesn’t stop with plastic bags! We have all sorts of on-going activities aimed at reducing single use plastics in our beloved community. If you’d like to get more involved with us, please come to our August 9th meeting at Cage Brewing.