FOLLY BEACH, SC (WCSC) –
Folly Beach City Council passed the first reading of a new ordinance which would eliminate single-use plastic bags within city limits.
Council passed the ordinance unanimously Tuesday night.
According to the proposed ordinance, the regulation would “regulate the use of plastic carryout bags and promote the use of reusable bags and recyclable paper carryout bags…and to prohibit the distribution of expanded polystyrene coolers.”
The ordinance was introduced by the Charleston Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation and the S.C. Coastal Conservation League “in an effort to protect the pristine Folly Beach environment.”
The ordinance indicates discarded plastic bags contribute to overburdened landfills as well as threaten wildlife and marine life; Folly Beach is also home to nesting sea turtles.
“Over the last year we’ve been working with Surfrider Foundation on the plastic bag ordinance by educating the businesses on the importance to eliminate plastic bags in our community,” Lewis Dodson, President of Folly Association of Business said in an email statement. “We were met with some hurdles like concerns with cost and logistics of switching to paper, but ultimately were able to get the majority of businesses behind the ordinance, understanding the environmental impact of plastic bag use. We have spent the last year polling Folly Beach business owners, listening to representatives from Surfrider Foundation, and have gone over the pros and cons from the businesses’ perspectives at our meetings. We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to help preserve our sea life and keep our beaches free of plastic bag liter!”
The ordinance also states that the volume of tourists to folly Beach makes the city particularly susceptible to a high consumption of plastic bags.
The following regulations would go into affect Jan. 1, 2017:
(1) No person may may provide single-use plastic carryout bags at any City facility, City-sponsored event, or any event held on City property.
(2) No business establishment within the city limits may provide single use plastic carryout bags to its customers.
(3) Business establishments within the city limits are strongly encouraged to provide prominently displayed signage advising customers of the benefit of reducing, reusing and recycling and promoting the use of reusable carryout bags and recyclable paper carryout bags by customers.
(4) All business establishments shall provide or make available to a customer reusable carryout bags or recycled paper bags.
(5) No business establishment in the City of Folly Beach may sell, rent or otherwise provide an expanded polystyrene foam cool (also known as “Styrofoam” TM cooler); or purchase, obtain, keep, distribute sell, or give for home or personal use, or otherwise provide to customers any expanded polystyrene foam coolers in the City of Folly Beach.
There are exceptions to the proposed ban as well as penalties for businesses that are not compliant. In addition, the ordinance states the city may grant a waiver up to a year to business owners where alternative checkout bags are unavailable or economic hardship makes it not feasible for the business to be in compliance on Jan. 1.
Isle of Palms passed a plastic bag ban last year.