ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (FOX 13) - It's no secret that keeping the Bay Area free of pollution, litter, and specifically plastics has been an uphill battle. However, two similar bills proposed by lawmakers in the Florida House and Senate are hoping to tackle the problem that is overtaking our streets and waterways.
"Last year alone, we had over 18,000 volunteers work with us and we abated almost 700,000 pounds of litter from our streets and waterways," said Pat Deplasco with Keep Pinellas Beautiful.
The so-called Bottle Bill would encourage recycling by imposing a five to 10 cent deposit on all glass, aluminum or plastic bottles and cans.
Consumers would pay the deposit on every such item they buy. They would then get the deposit back by returning the used bottles and cans to the grocery store or a redemption center.
"Absolutely, it's reducing the litter on the streets, because it's making the people think about 'now that I'm done with this, what do I do with it?' So, I think this would be another way to motivate people and educate people, and I'm all for that," said Deplasco.
While some think this might be a small price to pay to keep our streets and waterways clean, others aren't too sure.
"I don't agree with it. You [have] to take it to get recycled to get that cash back. I don't think that's fair. I recycle anyway. I put it in my recycle bin, the garbage people take it and that's it," said Brian Nocera, an opponent of the bill.
Some say the bill would penalize those already recycling.
However, in a statement to FOX 13, State Sen. Kevin Rader who introduced the bill stated:
"This will move recycling rates in the state of Florida from the low 20 percent range to the high 70 percent range overnight... Do we want to raise recycling rates? This is the only way to make it happen."
Whether or not the bills get passed, Deplasco said it's a step in the right direction.
"We all live on this earth and everyone needs to take an active role in preserving our environment for tomorrow," she said.
She stated that reducing pollution can only happen when everyone works together.
Currently, 10 other states have bills like this already in place, placing a deposit ranging from five to 10 cents on all recyclable bottles and cans.