FAST FACTS - And these are just the bags
Paper, plastic or neither?
A 2003 study found U.S. residents used 90 billion retail bags that year.
In Florida, only 12 percent of plastic bags and 37 percent of paper bags are reused or recycled,
. Across the nation, about 30 states have enacted or considered bag regulations. Other actions include:
Washington, D.C.: Effective this year, the city authorized a 5-cent tax on paper and plastic bags to promote the used of reusable shopping bags.
Edmonds, Wash.: Banned retail establishments from distributing single-use plastic bags in August 2009.
North Carolina: In 2009, retail stores on the coastal Outer Banks were prohibited from giving plastic bags to customers and required to use paper bags made of recycled content.
Delaware: Required all retail stores exceeding 7,000 square feet to establish recycling programs for plastic bags.
Marshall County, Iowa: Mandated the use of compostable plastic, recyclable paper or reusable checkout bags in all retail stores.
Alaska: About 30 communities in the western part of the state established bans on plastic bags starting in 1998 to prevent litter at dumps and harm to wildlife.
(Frank, John. Plastic or paper or neither? Florida lawmakers may weigh in. Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau. February 17, 2010)
There is a lot of plastic that isn't in the bag.For years .......there have been tales of a floating island of waste the size of Texas. Its colorful nickname was the Great Eastern Garbage Patch.... even more mind-boggling than the purported scale was that pretty much the only places you could dig up any substantial info about it were in minor oceanographic and environmental publications. You also couldn't find a photo of it to save your life.
The Garbage Patch is located at a natural collecting point at the center of a set of revolving currents called the North Pacific Gyre. The middle of the Gyre is more of a meteorological phenomenon than an actual place: a consistent high-pressure zone north of the Hawaiian Islands that, combined with the extremely weak currents, helps keep the ocean surface as placid as lake water.
Flotsam has been sucked into this area from the encircling currents for as long as the Pacific's existed, but up until the last century this process ended with the refuse safely biodegrading and being reabsorbed into the food chain as nutrients. With the advent of plastics, however, the Garbage Patch has transformed from a fertile feeding ground to the oceanic equivalent of a desert. And a particularly c - -p-strewn desert at that. Morton,Thomas . (Garbage Island, VBS-TV.February 17, 2010. )
Because Action. December 14, 2009)
Guess who's left holding the bag?
In February (2010) a much-anticipated report from state environmental regulators may spur Florida lawmakers to consider a ban on plastic retail bags.
Sen. Lee Constantine of Altamonte Springs, the Republican chairman of the Senate's environmental committee, appeared adamant Tuesday in prodding the Legislature to act.
"We are working together to try to (increase recycling) — this is part of an opportunity," he said. "If we don't control or find a way to start reusing these better … we're never going to get there."A number of Florida communities — including Miami, Parkland, Key West and Sarasota — were considering regulations.
However... the state's powerful business lobby — a powerful opponent to any change — quietly tucked a provision in the 2008 energy bill that prohibited local governments from banning plastic bags, in what some consider a violation of local sovereignty, or "home rule."
A quick look at "trash"