Fort Myers Beach pushing to phase out use of plastic bags

Fort Myers Beach recently placed a ban on plastic straws, but getting plastic bags outlawed is proving to be more difficult.

“They are harmful to fish. They just collect and they’re garbage,” said Murray Levitan, a visitor to the area.

State laws don’t allow local governments like the town council to ban plastic bags, so they’re looking to phase in reusable bags on the beach instead.

“The program we’re working on now is to come up with sponsor paid canvas reusable bags to get people not to use the plastic, particularly on the beach,” said Bill Veach, chairman of the Marine Resources Task Force.

The Marine Resources Task Force is behind the environmental switch. And Veach says it won’t cost you a dime.

“First we get some sponsors to try to pay for the bag. We’re gonna make like 5,000 of them. They’re quality bags so they’ll be around a while which is good for the sponsors,” Veach said.

The task force says it’s all to protect the home everyone shares on the beach and surrounding areas.

“Everything that goes in the ocean doesn’t go away. It’s dangerous to wildlife. It gets in the food chain and it gets in our diet. It’s just not a good thing,” Veach said.

The group got the go-ahead Monday to look for cloth bag sponsors. The Florida Retail Federation opposes and sort of outright ban of plastic bags, arguing it would cost jobs.

Reporter:Taylor Bisacky