St. Pete councilman suggests banning plastic bags

- A proposal making its way through St. Petersburg City Council could make the question, "paper or plastic?" obsolete.

Councilman Karl Nurse is pushing to pass legislation that would ban plastic bags in St. Pete.

"They recycling system would work better. Our storm water and sewers would work better. You'll have less garbage on the beach forever," Nurse told FOX 13.

Nurse expects the proposal to make it out of the committee stage and will go before the full council in late summer or early fall.

Environmentalists, including David Connor with the Rise Against Plastics Coalition, have helped craft the proposal.

"Enough St. Petersburg citizens and Florida citizens are frustrated with the amount of plastic debris going into our waterways," Connor said. "Plastic bags end up in the ocean, they end up on our beaches, they end up in our sewer systems and they gum up our recycling facilities and so really it's a no-brainer that we eliminate them from our waste stream."

Some resident like the idea, while others aren't sure it's necessary.

"I think it's an excellent idea that they ban plastic bags because I really don't think it's environmentally safe," said Arementha Williams, a longtime St. Pete resident. "I think it's a very positive step. I'm very proud of that because after all it's only the most beautiful city in Florida. I'm a little biased."

“I think it's a choice that a person has to make for themselves if they want to use plastic or if they want to use paper,” offered Vinda Bynum, another long-time resident. “I don't think that's something the city should be wasting their time making a discussion on.”

In May, Coral Gables became the first Florida city to ban plastic bags. California and Hawaii are the only states that have statewide bans. Several cities and counties throughout the nation have also enacted similar regulations.

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