Palmetto Bay Council members voted 4-1 on first reading Monday to ban the use of plastic bags at Village Hall and at all city-related events. Instead, reusable bags would be the go-to.
Councilwoman Larissa Siegel Lara, who sponsored the ordinance on first reading, says it’s the first-step to banning plastic bags altogether and replacing them with reusable bags. A second vote must be taken in July and the ban would become effective Oct. 1.
In May, the city of Coral Gables became the first city in Florida to ban single-use, carryout plastic bags. The ordinance prohibits the use of plastic bags by retailers in the city and at city special events. Violators are fined anywhere from $50 to $500.
The “ban the bag” movement marked its first major victory in 2007 when San Francisco outlawed plastic carryouts in grocery stores. Since then, bans have been imposed in cities or counties in at least 20 states.
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“I think it’s premature for us to pass that at the moment. But this is a start,” Siegel Lara said, noting that the ordinance would tie into a previous ordinance passed last year that prohibits the use of styrofoam or expanded polystyrene.
Both bans do not impact retailers or residents, only the vendors that the village uses for events and at Village Hall. Palmetto Bay joins the village of Pinecrest, which already has similar rules in place.
Palmetto Bay Vice Mayor John Dubois cast the sole dissenting vote.
“Why don’t we have a procurement policy instead of an ordinance?” he said. “We don’t have a recycling policy. The truth is we can address this issue by recycling.”