Pinellas County

Tampa Bay area group looking to end 'paper or plastic' debate in St. Pete

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - A common question could change soon in the city of St. Petersburg. No doubt you've heard someone ask "paper or plastic?"

One Tampa Bay area group is trying to convince St. Petersburg city leaders to ban plastic bags. Right now, the City of Coral Gables is the other Florida municipality to have the band already in place. But, will St. Petersburg be next?

If Davey Connor has his way, the answer is yes.

"It is convenient in a moment. But, they last for hundreds of years," Connor told News Channel 8 Wednesday afternoon. He is the chair of the group, Suncoast Rise Above Plastics.

Connor is talking and he hopes the St. Petersburg City Council is listening.

The group is ready to rally as they fight for their cause, claiming plastic is plaguing Tampa Bay area beaches, killing marine life and stopping up our sewers. He hopes the city of St. Petersburg follows in the steps of Coral Gables 

"We think that when people understand, when they're educated, the consequences of their actions, they can change their behavior," he said.

Couples like Earl and Patti Ricci agree. While the Plant City art teacher and his wife were at Pass-A-Grille Beach Wednesday afternoon, they talked about their strong feelings.

Patti laughed and said, "Don't get me started. It's terrible."

Her husband seconded that sentiment.

"This isn't just a city thing or a Florida thing, it's a global thing," said Earl.

But, there are people like Alan from St. Pete Beach who tell us government should stay out of it. He maintains that he reuses plastic bags all the time and finds multiple ways to make sure they're not thrown away.

He asks, why ban something that is constantly utilized?

"I don't know if we need another regulation. If people just had common sense, we'd be lot better off," he said.

But, for Patti, she says there's no point in keeping bags.

"It's just bad all around, there's no good point to it. Just use paper. To use plastic bags is bad for the beaches, the environment, the world."

Rise Above Plastics is holding a rally on the steps of St. Petersburg City Hall Thursday afternoon at 3 p.m., just prior to the city council meeting. They are asking supporters to wear blue.

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