A Plastic Free Town of Palm Beach
Soon there will be a plastic free Town of Palm Beach. On Thursday, it was recommended by The Ordinances, Rules and Standards Committee that Palm Beach send a resolution to the lawmakers of Florida, and ask them to give the power to ban single-use plastic bags to local governments, as by the current law, municipalities are prohibited from regulating plastic bags.
Another recommendation came from Committee members and Town of Palm Beach Town Council members Danielle Moore and Bobbie Lindsay, regarding the adoption of an ordinance that would prohibit the release of inflatable balloons on the island. The Committee serves as an advisory board to the Town Council. On an upcoming council meeting in January, the members would have to approve the balloon ordinance and plastic bag resolution.
Residents and town staff applauded the decision, as well as the Palm Beach Day Academy, Loggerhead Marine life Center, Friends of Palm Beach and Palm Beach Civic Association.
A ninth-grader from Palm Beach Day Academy, Gray Foster, led the research that backed the plastic bag ban, and he has since Thursday received much praise from the community for it.
As he stated to the committee, as the fourth generation to live on the island, he hopes to preserve it for future generations. Plastic bags and trash ruin the image and ecology of Palm Beach, he said, and added that Palm Beach should lead the way in every area that improves everyday life, including economy and tourism.
Diane Buhler from The Friends of Palm Beach and Council member Bobbie Lindsay revealed some staggering numbers as to the amount of trash and plastic bags in the country and Palm Beach itself. There’s 100 billion plastic bags used per year in the country, Lindsay said, and Buhler stated that since she and her volunteers from Friends of Palm Beach started beach cleanups in 2013, they have removed almost 50,000 pounds of trash from Palm Beach Shores, the majority being plastic items.
Buhler is very supportive of the initiative to ban plastic bags. “I support this initiative because we have become a disposable society to the detriment of our environment and wildlife. Starting today, prior to any new laws or changes, people can make changes to our habits by using reusable grocery bags and water bottles, saying no to plastic straws and utensils. If Palm Beach passes this resolution, they will be proving their commitment toward protecting their coastal community and showing others that they are willing to stand up for their right to do so.”
“Towns like Palm Beach, cities such as West Palm Beach and Lake Worth, are moving or have moved to pass resolutions for the right of home rule. The timeliness of this movement could be as quick as the 2017 legislative session which would be a great win for our environment,” she says.
A Plastic Free Town of Palm Beach
In case of resolution approval, Jay Boodheshwar, Deputy Town Manager, stated that there’s an option for the town to ask its paid lobbyists to talk about this issue in Tallahassee, and the resolution might have a clause that would encourage business to start using re-usable bags, which would help the effort immensely.
As Diane Buhler said, change starts from an individual, and in that vein, Danielle Moore and Bobbie Lindsay also encouraged town residents and officials as well as civic groups to support the plastic ban through every outlet possible. For the success of this initiative, it is important for every individual to take action and do whatever they can.