Alachua County proposes single-use plastic ban

Chris Rose opposes the plastic ban and offered other options to the Alachua County Commission during its meeting on Tuesday.

The Alachua County Commission made a motion to bring a single-use plastic and Styrofoam ban to a public hearing next week.

On Tuesday, the commission voted unanimously to follow the city of Gainesville’s example. The city commission voted to pass a plastic ban ordinance in January.

Patrick Irby, the county’s waste alternatives manager, presented other Florida cities who have passed similar bans during the meeting to show how it would work if the county made the decision.

The ban would remove Styrofoam containers, like takeout trays and cups, and single-use plastic bags from all restaurants and stores. There will be some exceptions to the law, including bags used at dry cleaners and produce bags in grocery stores.

There will be citations and an education process for business owners who violate the ban, Irby said.

Irby said the ordinance is modeled after Coral Gables, Florida, which passed a Styrofoam ban in 2016 and banned plastic bags in 2017.

The county wants to implement the ban with the city of Gainesville on January 1, 2020, Irby said.

Chris Rose, 30, of Waldo, spoke against the ordinace during the meeting. He asked the board to enforce ordinances that are already in place regarding the environment rather than creating a ban.

“It’s already illegal to litter, it’s already illegal to improperly dispose of trash,” Rose said. “I would support stronger penalties for those violations.”

Josephine Fuller is a fourth-year student studying journalism and women's studies. She is originally from Hialeah, Florida. When she's not watching Bob's Burgers she's probably playing with her cat, Marley.