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Palm Beach to Prohibit Plastics

Boston has done it. New York City has done it. Los Angeles has done it. Palm Beach is doing it. The Town of Palm Beach Town Council adopted Ordinance No. 24-2019 and Ordinance No 23-2019. These Ordinances prohibit the use of expanded polystyrene containers (more commonly known as styrofoam), single-use carry out plastic bags, and plastic straws and stirrers within the corporate limits of the Town of Palm Beach. These regulations under the prohibition applies to food service providers and retail establishments, Town vendors and contractors using Town facilities, and any special event permittee and their subcontractors. 

The Ordinances will take effect on December 12, 2019. This date also acts as a deadline for businesses to rid themselves of their current stock of plastics and polystyrene. 

Expanded polystyrene containers, plastic bags, plastic straws and stirrers have a severe and lasting impact on the environment. These prohibitions will be enforced in order for Palm Beach to take better care of the environment. 

According to Our World Data, it is estimated that about three percent of the world’s yearly plastic waste enters the oceans each year. This translates to approximately eight million tonnes of plastic being disposed of in the ocean in 2010. 

Palm Beach to Prohibit Plastics

Not only is plastic polluting the oceans, but plastic is polluting the land. According to Our World Data, few landfills are properly equipped to handle plastic. Some plastics — such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC) — excrete harmful chemicals such as additives and plasticizers compounds. Without being properly disposed of, these plastics can cause far more damage to the surrounding land and water. 

There are consequences to using plastic even after it has been properly disposed of. According to the Center for Biological Diversity, a plastic bag will take over 500 years to decompose. However, the bags do not break down completely. Instead of completely decomposing, the bags will photo-degrade. In other words, the bags will become microplastics that absorb toxins and will continue to pollute the environment indefinitely.  

For more information on the Town of Palm Beach Town Council’s ban, visit: 

https://www.townofpalmbeach.com/915/Prohibition-of-Plastics-Polystyrene

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Alexis Pinchuk

Alexis Pinchuk

Alexis is studying journalism, pre-law, and pre-med at Boston University. She is interested in politics, medicine, and national and local events. Pinchuk hopes to combine her passions to make a difference in the community.

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