• St. Augustine Beach neighbors push for plastic bag ban

    By: Brittney Donovan , Action News Jax

    Updated:

    Carrying your groceries out of the store in plastic bags could be a thing of the past.

    Gainesville is moving to ban the single-use bags and a group wants St. Augustine Beach to do the same.

    “We are constantly picking up plastic bags off the beach. Its problematic in so many different ways,” Jane West said.

    West is an environmental lawyer and St. Augustine Beach resident. She’s among those who have been pushing for years to stop the use of plastic bags.

    She tells Action News Jax that St. Augustine Beach had a monthlong voluntary ban in 2018. Neighbors were given reusable bags and stores posted fliers encouraging their use.

    “After the month went by, everyone just kind slipped into their old ways of using plastic,” West said.

    The plastic bags can’t be recycled at a recycling plant -- they clog the machines and cause backups.

    To recycle them, people have to bring them back to the store.

    Advocates of the bag ban hope reducing their use will mean less end up on the beach and in landfills.

    “I think it’s a great idea,” Sundie Wilcox said. “I didn’t realize plastic bags couldn’t go in your recycle bin.”

    West says the ordinance for St. Augustine Beach has been drafted. It’s up to the community to push for it to be reviewed by the commission.​

    "It would just be awesome if our coastal community could take initiative on this important issue​," she said.

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