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An existing statewide preemption prohibits cities from enforcing single-use plastic bans. This session legislators are looking to reverse that preemption and develop other programs to reduce plastic waste.

Several cities and counties in Florida have tried to ban single-use plastics. But the efforts have been unsuccessful thanks to a state preemption that prevents local governments from passing such measures.

SB 182 looks to delete that preemption, paving the way for communities to move forward with such bans. And while previous attempts to strike the preemption have failed, it hasn’t stopped lawmakers Linda Stewart (D-Orlando), Jose Javier Rodriguez (D-Miami), Lori Berman (D-Boynton Beach) and Gary Farmer, Jr. (D-Fort Lauderdale) from attempting it again.

Another bill, SB 40, would ban plastic bags and single-use plastic straws, with an exception for people with disabilities or medical conditions that require the use of a plastic straw.

This bill faces challenges from a powerful lobbying group, the Florida Retail Federation, which has already sued many of the municipalities that enacted bans in Florida.

UPDATE: SB 182 died in Community Affairs. SB 40 died in Commerce and Tourism.

refund using reverse vending machine
Some cities use reverse vending machines for container deposit refunds. Pictured here: Groningen Jumbo City receipt, courtesy of Donald Trung Quoc Don (Chữ Hán: 徵國單)

Beverage Container Deposits

In an effort to reduce landfill waste and increase recycling rates, state Sen. Kevin Rader has introduced SB 50, a proposed beverage container deposit program.

The bill would require vendors and consumers to pay a 5 cents deposit on certain beverages less than 25 fluid ounces and 10 cents for larger beverages. People can then return the containers to retailers and distributors to be refunded that deposit. Companies that handle returns would get 20% of the total refund amount.

These types of programs have been shown to increase recycling rates while reducing the problem of contaminated recyclables.

UPDATE: SB 50 died in Environment and Natural Resources

Local Government Recycling Programs

These efforts to improve recycling continue with CS/SB 724, which would establish the Florida Recycling Working Group. The group would be responsible for making recommendations to help the state reach its 2008 goal of recycling 75% of recyclable materials.

UPDATE: CS/SB 724 died in Community Affairs

Public Notification of Pollution

To help residents deal with pollution, SB 492 introduces new criteria for what constitutes pollution. The bill increases the responsibility of local governments to notify the public about any reported pollution. The bill also includes a provision requiring governments to notify landowners with wells whenever pollution is reported within a mile of their home.

UPDATE: SB 492 died in Environment and Natural Resources