In a world filled with plastic products, plastic bags are one of the most common sources of waste in the environment. Over time, more and more cities have joined to movement to reduce the amount of waste in the environment by charging for plastic bags to encourage people to bring their own bags. Other cities have gone a step further and banned plastic bags altogether. Miami is one more city working to place a ban on plastic bags that would help make the city a greener place to live.
The Problem With Plastic Bags
Recently, banning plastic bags has been the main goal for many environmental groups. Plastic is non-biodegradable, meaning it will stay around in the environment for the foreseeable future creating pollution and harming wildlife. While these bags are recyclable, they can only be recycled so many times before they are unusable (Mother Earth News). In places like Miami, whose beaches attract visitors from across the globe, littering from plastic bags drastically reduce the aesthetic appeal of natural areas. This can create an environment that is less attractive to both locals and tourists.
Miami is taking a radical approach to the plastic bag problem by working towards banning plastic bags all together. Some parts of Miami-Dade county, such as Coral Gables, have already made this ban official. The ban will fine violators anywhere from $50 to $500, creating an economic incentive to use paper or reusable shopping bags. However, shoppers will still be allowed to bring their own plastic bags into stores and will still be allowed to use the following items:
- Trash bags
- Dry cleaning bags
- Pet waste bags
- Bags to hold prescriptions
The city of Miami is working towards following Coral Gables’ example in the near future by enacting their own ban. However, the city is still working to lay down the groundwork for this ban.
With a city the size of Miami, it is difficult to enact any ban over night. Miami has been taking steps to work towards a complete plastic bag ban. The city must first work against legislation that is meant to reduce the ability of local governments to regulate plastic bags (Miami Today). The county is also working to encourage recycling plastic bags by making recycling bins more accessible and mandating recycling for businesses and condominiums (Aljazeera America). Once Miami has these steps in place, they will be able to move towards an absolute ban on plastic bags. This ban will have a lag period of a few months to a year to enable companies and shoppers to slowly transition to the new regulations.
It is encouraging to see more cities and local governments taking a part in the environmental movement. Miami’s work towards banning plastic bags is another example of the progress many places are making to encourage the public to live more eco-friendly live. While the process may take some time, Miami is on its way to reducing plastic waste in the environment and making the city a greener place to live.