It seems that each month more and more countries are hopping on the environmentalists’ bandwagon and committing to some major sustainability efforts. From banning single-use plastics to going 100% carbon-neutral, the world seems to finally be waking up to the seriousness of our planet’s environmental issues. Now, those efforts are trickling down to more local government entities. For example, late last month the city of Palm Beach Florida became the first municipality in their county to commit to banning single-use plastic bags and Styrofoam containers.
Like some similar moves by other government entities, the new city ordinance won’t immediately go into effect. In an effort to give the local restaurants and retailers some time to come up with alternatives, the ban won’t go into full effect until mid-December this year.
Like many coastal cities in Florida, Palm Beach relies on the ocean for a good portion of its commerce and tourism business. Plastics have been proven time and time again to be bad for the marine environment, especially animals, so it makes perfect sense for a coastal town like Palm Beach to join the global movement of banning plastics and polystyrene.
The move could have bigger impacts than those specific to restaurants and retail stores. By showing the residents of Palm Beach that the businesses are committed to protecting the environment, the city hopes that individual families will join in on the movement by switching to reusable containers when shopping and preparing meals.
When the ordinance goes into effect in December, it will apply to all gas stations, restaurants, drug stores, and grocery stores in the city. It will also apply to individual vendors who are participating in local events and festivals within the city limits. A few, specific industries are getting a pass, such as those who provide fresh seafood and meat, as well as dry cleaners, who will all still be allowed to use plastics with their products.
With any luck, the precedent set by the government of Palm Beach will help influence other cities throughout Florida and the effort to go more carbon neutral and environmentally friendly will continue to flourish.