Plastic Pollution, Bag Bans
March 11 2013

Can a First Coast City be the First City in Florida to Refuse Plastic Bags?

by Bill Hickman

Florida is a state that limits 'home rule' when it comes to plastic bags - municipalities are not allowed to enact a plastic bag ban or fee-based ordinance per state law.  That did not slow down a group of Flagler College students who are working to eliminate plastic bag litter is St. Augustine.

"St. Augustine may be the nation's oldest city, but it's the newest town to push plastic bags out of local shops. "We are preserving our past by protecting our future," said Flagler College senior, Jovie Reeves. City commissioners just approved a voluntary ban on plastic bags. A group of Flagler College students proposed the change, and they will help the stores comply."  According to a report from

While resolutions and voluntary efforts to reduce plastic checkout bag litter typically fall short, this effort takes a different approach and the student follow through will be the key to success.  It's easy to ask stores to stop using plastic bags but it takes continued outreach and education for the effort to become established.

"They can have an idea and make it happen," said ENACTUS faculty advisor, Donna DeLorenzo. The group of about 20 students will design the re-usable bags to go along with the city's 450th birthday.  "They are learning how to work with city government. They are learning how to change attitudes and how people think," said DeLorenzo."

Can you make it happen in your hometown?