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Single-Use Plastic & Polystyrene Ban 2020 QUICK REFERENCE GUIDE

To foster a commitment to our environment, a city-wide ban on expanded polystyrene containers and single-use plastic bags begins on January 1, 2020.

Why was this done?

Polystyrene containers and single-use plastic bags are detrimental to the environment. They don’t fully degrade, overburden landfills and introduce unsafe chemicals into the environment.These materials consistently create hazards for aquatic and land animals due to ingestion. Plastic bags and polystyrene make up a significant portion of litter in our streets, parks, public places and waterways.

What items are exempt from the ban?

While discontinuation of all single use plastic bags and expanded polystyrene containers is strongly encouraged, the ordinance does not specifically apply to:

Polystyrene containers used for prepackaged food that have been filled and sealed prior to receipt by the food service provider or retail establishment.

Polystyrene containers used to package raw meat or seafood from a butcher case or similar refrigerated display.

Plastic bags used for: grocery produce, prescription drugs, dog waste, dry cleaning, door hangers, newspaper bags, garbage bags or compostable bags (at ASTM D6400).

Reusable bags specifically designed for multiple, long-term use and is constructed out of any of the following materials:

(1) Cloth, other washable fabric, or other durable materials whether woven or non-woven, recyclable plastic (2) Recyclable plastic, that displays in a highly visible manner on the bags' exterior, language describing the bags' ability to be reused and recycled and has a minimum thickness of 2.25 mils or (3) recyclable paper.

A citywide ban on single-use plastic bags & Polystyrene goes into effect Jan. 2020

Frequently Asked Questions

What is expanded polystyrene?

Expanded polystyrene is commonly referred to as Styrofoam, but this is actually the proprietary name of a polystyrene product.

What constitutes a single-use plastic bag?

A single-use plastic bag refers to a bag provided to a customer typically at the point of sale for the purpose of transporting items and goods.

When will the single-use plastic bag and polystyrene ban take effect?

Enforcement will not begin until January 1, 2020. This gives retail establishments the opportunity to expend current inventory and transition to reusable, recyclable or compostable alternatives.

Can retailers/food service providers sell single-use bags or polystyrene?

No. Food service providers and retail establishments will not be permitted to sell or use these items.

What about special event vendors?

Any special event permittees or any vendor operating under a city permit will not be permitted to sell, use or provide food or drink in single-use plastic bags or polystyrene containers.

What are the enforcement penalties?

The city may enforce this article by civil citation of $250

What about straws?

In June the Gainesville City Commission will examine adding plastic straws to the impending Jan 2020 ban of single-use plastic bags and Styrofoam.

Read more about ordinance no. 170487 online at zerowastegac.com.

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