Disposable Bag Fee
In early 2019, the Winter Park Town Council moved towards its goal of building a more sustainable community by approving a fee for retailers and grocery stores that use single-use plastic bags. Creating a “healthy & thriving environment” was identified as a primary vision for the future through the Imagine Winter Park initiative to develop a new Town Plan. Since July 1, 2019, a disposable plastic bag fee of $0.20 per bag has been in place.
Retailers and food stores retain 40% of the fees collected ($0.08 per bag) to offset expenses associated with the fee implementation. The Town collects 60% of the fees ($0.12 per bag) to mitigate the effects of the bags through educational efforts, funding for programs to reduce waste, contributions to “The Drop” in Fraser, etc.
A few exceptions to the fee include:
- Temporary food vendors at farmer’s markets and other temporary events
- Restaurants or other businesses (such as salons or spas) where retail sales are clearly a secondary activity
- Customers participating in a federal or state food assistance program
- Fee does not apply to produce bags or other bags used for bulk items, meats, baked goods, flowers, prescriptions, liquor sleeves, etc.
Plastic bags are produced from non-renewable resources and are very difficult to recycle. Plastic bags are not biodegradable, so they remain as litter in the environment. Since the community identified building a “healthy & thriving environment” as a top priority during the Imagine Winter Park initiative, this fee will help mitigate the problems caused by plastic bags and create a more sustainable community.