STC Sea Turtle Blog

Urgent Call to Action! Help a Bill to Ban Plastic Bags in Florida!

UPDATE 4/10/14 – Thank you to all the sea turtle lovers who reached out to Florida legislators for support of SB830, “Carryout Bags,” which proposed a potential ban on many plastic bags. Many legislators said their offices were “inundated” with calls, Tweets, and emails from supporters! Unfortunately, after much debate, the bill has been temporarily postponed.

URGENT CALL TO ACTION! WE NEED YOU TO HELP FLORIDA BAN PLASTIC BAGS! Tomorrow morning, Thursday April 10, the FL Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee will consider a bill that could help ban the use of many plastic bags in Florida. The bill, SB 0830 “Carryout Bags” by Sen. Dwight Bullard from South Florida will allow local governments to adopt ordinances that prohibit stores from handing out free plastic carryout bags and that require a 10 cent charge for each recyclable paper bag. Customers are free to supply their own bags.

Currently Florida law prohibits local governments from enacting bans on plastic bags. This bill would overturn the existing law and establish uniform statewide standards for cities and counties that want to implement plastic bag rules.  It simply allows citizens and their local governments the authority to ban plastic bags if they so choose.

The bill provides that the bag ordinance can only apply to large stores meeting at least $2 million in gross annual sales, or that have at least 10,000 square feet of floor space.  (Mom and pop stores are exempt.)

turtle and plastic bags underwaterThis bill will reduce litter, encourage recycling, and potentially save thousands of animals from accidentally ingesting plastic. It is estimated that more than 100 million marine animals are killed each year due to plastic debris in the ocean. More than 80% of this plastic comes from land. It washes out from our beaches and streets. It travels through storm drains into streams and rivers. It flies away from landfills into our seas. As a result, thousands of sea turtles accidentally swallow these plastics, mistaking them for food. Most of the debris is recognizable: plastic bags, balloons, bottles, degraded buoys, plastic packaging, and food wrappers. Some plastics aren’t so easy to see, so small, in fact, that it is invisible to the naked eye. If sea turtles ingest these particles, they can become sick or even starve.

Check out this moving animated video that illustrates the devastating impact that marine litter has on a variety of species:


We are asking you to please politely urge Committee members to vote ‘YES’ on the Carryout Bags bill! See below for a list of who to contact:


Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation 2014


Local Delegations Capitol Phone Email Address
Sen. Charles S. Dean, Chair Baker,Citrus,Columbia,Dixie,Gilchrist,Lafayette,Levy,Marion,Suwannee,Union (850) 487-5005
Sen. Joseph Abruzzo, Vice Chair Palm Beach (850) 487-5025
Sen. Thad Altman Brevard,Orange,Seminole (850) 487-5016
Sen. Dwight Bullard Collier,Hendry,Miami-Dade,Monroe (850) 487-5039
Sen. Jeff Clemens Palm Beach (850) 487-5027
Sen. Andy Gardiner Brevard,Orange (850) 487-5013
Sen. Denise Grimsley Highlands,Martin,Okeechobee,Osceola,Polk,St. Lucie (850) 487-5021
Sen. Jack Latvala Pinellas (850) 487-5020
Sen. Wilton Simpson Hernando,Pasco,Sumter (850) 487-5018
Sen. Darren Soto Orange,Osceola,Polk (850) 487-5014,,,,,,,,,

Are you on Twitter? Tweet this to the Senators listed: Please support SB830 Carry Out Bags to ban plastic bags & help protect our environment #YesOn830

Twitter handles:

Sen. Thad Altman – @SenatorAltman

Sen. Charles S. Dean – @CharlieDeanSD5

Sen. Jeff Clemens – @ClemensFL

Sen. Denise Grimsley – @DeniseGrimsley

Sen. Jack Latvala – @JackLatvala

Sen. Wilton Simpson – @WiltonSimpson

Sen. Darren Soto – @SenDarrenSoto

Or reach the Senators on Facebook by clicking these links: Sen. Jeff Clemens, Sen. Andy Gardiner, Sen. Denise Grimsley, Sen. Wilton Simpson

Please also join us in thanking Senator Bullard for sponsoring this important bill once again. He can be reached at, on his Facebook page or on Twitter @DwightBullard