City commission is one vote away from passing ordinances that impose new regulations on every restaurant, food retailer, and apartment complex

Commissioner Adrian Hayes-Santos praises the new ordinances


With little discussion, the first reading of the City of Gainesville’s Zero Waste ordinances passed unanimously on May 5.

“Solid Waste”

The “Solid Waste” ordinance establishes some new requirements for commercial establishments, including providing an equal number of receptacles for recycling as are provided for garbage, requiring pharmacies to provide a take-back program for prescription drugs, and requiring all properties that provide commercially-collected residential garbage service to also provide recycling service. Residential properties with at least 200 leased units must provide a plan by January 1, 2023, for diverting “usable and functioning household goods, furnishings, and electronics” from the landfill waste stream. Properties with at least 50 leased units must provide such a plan by January 1, 2025. 

The ordinance includes the provision that restaurants are no longer permitted to provide single-use plastic utensils or other accessories, even for dine-in, unless the customer requests them or unless they are provided at a self-serve station. 

All intentional outdoor releases of plastic confetti, glitter, and balloons are also prohibited.

Commissioner Adrian Hayes-Santos thanked everyone who had worked on the ordinance since Zero Waste Gainesville started in 2017. “This will, I believe, be probably one of the most progressive ordinances in the United States on this, especially in the southeast, and it will allow us to make substantial change, something that the public has been asking for for a long time.”

He made a motion to adopt the ordinance on first reading. Commissioner David Arreola thanked Hayes-Santos for his “hyper focus” on creating the ordinance. Commissioner Reina Saco said, “It was a huge effort… can’t wait to see the effects.”

No members of the public spoke, and the motion passed unanimously.

“Food Waste”

The “Food Waste” ordinance requires mandatory collection of food waste. All commercially-collected residential property owners (i.e., apartment complexes, etc.) are required to implement a food waste collection program that provides a food waste container in a common area of the property, educates their residents, and provides to each resident a container for transporting food waste to the collection area. 

Commercial establishments (like restaurants) that “generate one cubic yard of food waste or more per week” are required to separate food waste from the waste stream by June 1, 2023. By June 1, 2026, all commercial establishments shall separate food waste from the waste stream. Restaurants also have to deliver the food waste to a food waste processor or produce a contract with a food waste registrant. 

Any restaurant that provides garbage receptacles to the public “shall provide an equal number of receptacles for collection of food waste” next to the garbage and recycling receptacles. 

Registration with the City is required for any entity that “shall collect, transport, convey or process food waste.” All food waste “shall be delivered to a food waste processing facility that meets permitting requirements of the State of Florida.”

The ordinance passed unanimously on first reading without any discussion, and nobody from the public spoke about it. 

“Food Diversion”

The third ordinance, the “Food Diversion” ordinance, requires food retailers that occupy at least 25,000 square feet to divert food or food waste from the waste stream by January 1, 2023. By January 1, 2024, establishments that occupy at least 4,500 square feet, along with a wide range of other food retail/preparation businesses, are required to comply.

Under the ordinance, food must be diverted under this hierarchy: 1) Feeding hungry people; 2) Feeding animals; 3) Providing for industrial uses; 4) Composting. Businesses must provide receipts of delivery to a food bank or a food waste processing facility.

Saco made a motion to approve the ordinance on first reading. Hayes-Santos remarked, “I think this portion of the ordinance is pretty big. This has—grocery stores won’t be able to just throw away edible food. They’ll have to give it to people who are hungry. So it’s a major step in that direction of not wasting edible food, making sure people in our community don’t go hungry.” 

Again, nobody from the public spoke, and the ordinance passed unanimously on first reading. 

Both ordinances will become final on second reading, which is scheduled for this Thursday’s city commission meeting if it is held.

  • Golly, more help for small business from our overlords…I wonder WHO has an inside track to making bank on this “Progressive” new food waste scheme…..

    • Right on sir. There must be some hidden payouts scheme for something this weird. Maybe that’s why most city commissioners don’t have jobs anymore, quit or weren’t willing to work so they could receive only $40k salary then move into giant houses. But they are looking out for the poor, oh yeah.

      • What is to stop homeowners and restaurants from dumping all food down garbage disposal? Nothing! Get ready water treatment plants. You will be rocked.

  • It’s often said, “a mind is a terrible thing to waste.”

    What’s quite evident by these commissioners is the waste of human reproductive abilities by their parents. They should have practiced birth control.

  • Hayes-“Santos” (white guy from Canada with stepdad named Santos must be the biggest fool ever. Food ware receptacles in apartment complexs. LOL, will be totally full of mice, roaches, and maggots galore. Idiotic at best. And the food Div, to give it to people. So they’ll have to keep cooked food >170 degrees or <37 so it is safe from growing bacteria as per all state health departments. Homeless to line up and camp around hand out spots. What a stupid idiot idea. Yeah, it’s the most progressive because it won’t fly for one month before people sue for sicknesses. This unsuccessful jobless nut needs removed and put in a mental home. This might even make national news(what he wants) just to show how ignorant he and anyone who voted for this is. Like good restaurants will open new locations in Gainesville knowing this and the sky high property taxes and highest electricity in the state. Wrong again “Santos”! And, The Who commission who votes for this far fetched nonsense. Ignorance from unsuccessful elected nuts at its finest!

    • He seems like he doesn’t feel comfortable and doesn’t belong here in Gainesville, in Florida, or even in the USA. He’s obviously a progressive radical who is intent on destruction instead of representing his constituents. I guess he got his TD or whatever was wrong with him under control since he stopped constantly fidgeting with his hands, and he no longer looks like a fat mental patient (he actually looks frail in the photo here). He’s probably terrified of local working men like GRU employees. We can all hope that he goes back to where he came from (same for Poe going back to North Dakota). Go back to Canada and be Justin Trudeau’s shoe-shine-boy or something.

      • Correct on all. Definitely not a manly guy, more frail and actually really is still attached to mother’s apron strings (she hangs around there to watch him). Sure he doesn’t want any part of manly GRU workers.

    • Raccoons might love “a food waste container in a common area of the property.” Raccoons on the loose, ready to Agenda 2030 Party with you

        • taxonomists thought the raccoon was related to many different species, including dogs, cats, badgers and particularly bears

      • And rodents galore, that will also bring lots of snakes for an easy rodent meal. Sad but hilarious, especially when no cities do this. Race to the bottom!!

  • Can’t be real. Is somebody smoking something to think this can be enforced, will work, and will actually help anything except maybe the contractors who have been tipped off to sell the “city approved”containers. Next will be a large fee for every restaurant, grocery store, and apartment complex. Need real leaders here not people to think up the most ridiculous ideas that cost all of us and will never work.

  • Yes, but the Equity Screening Dept. will excuse District 1 and now 3 (?) from enforcement. Since they suffer deep-seated lack of public policy awareness, their TV ch.12, city website and mailboxes are too difficult to find.

  • Folks, the City put out a RTN (request to negotiate) for a exclusive waste management contract. This is the 2nd of two ordinances that they had to pass to push forward a very green garbage collection contract. If you review the minimum specifics (specs), your eyes will be opened.

    As they are following through, some ordinances needed to be passed. It’s essentially about paving that highway which will lead to more control of private enterprises.

    Businesses are already experiencing higher garbage collection costs from those contractors that not bid due to requirements for service. And in that sense, the City has already indirectly imposed higher costs even before the contract is let.

    • Kickbacks coming from some lucky connected contractor to someone in the big building on the corner. What a farce. Can’t wait for a reason to call state investigators on this.

  • Is this acknowledgment that the Biden administration’s policies have caused so many problems that we now have to make sure that no food is ever wasted? Maybe they will pass an ordinance requiring that any extra milk from a dog with puppies must be extracted daily and given to starving babies who have no baby formula? (That would make as much sense.) I think lots and lots of flies will be the main pestilence problem at the food waste sites, and they will have a generally gross smell and appearance. Maybe 3 percent of college students will actually go to the trouble of doing it. It’s an absurd proposition.

    • Great reset and green new deal, the devils in the details: Paper straws, face masks, quarantines, social distancing, mandatory vaccines, gender dysphoric pronouns, high rents, high gas prices, end homelessness, end world hunger, CO2 regulation,
      Take away private property rights, redistribution of
      Wealth, social justice, zero waste, the WHO will
      Be your new boss and rule the world. Global totalitarianism… climate change, save the planet,
      Take away the guns, equity, universal basic income,
      You’ll own nothing and be happy. Everyone will be
      Equally miserable. Abortion. Look what has happened to the
      Garden of eden.

      • Agree with other commenters. This ordinance is destined to fail and cause lots of negative “unintended” consequences…
        Local restaurants will be hit hard as they already struggle to make a profit in this horrific mismanaged inflationary economy, and following the Covid lockdowns, government-caused labor shortages, and government-caused supply chain shortages.
        We will see more local small businesses close forever, and be left with big chains that can absorb this latest “cost of doing business.”
        But, at least our city commissioners will have the satisfaction of knowing that they are the most “progressive” city commissioners anywhere, as they remake Gainesville in their own radical Leftist image.

        • Well said about the unintended consequences. Just put it all in one big dumpster and let them
          Sort it at the transfer station is the most efficient way to go.

  • How do we energize for any change, with the little blue haired generic’s and their frail spectacled professor mundlings, to adopt anything other than their ultra liberal democratic code?
    This town is a smudge pot of frailty. Dainty lil males and rough house Becky’s. Good luck!

  • I read the Food Waste portion as compost. Then it mentions Diversion as going to people first? Does Waste flow into Diversion or are they two different things? I have questions. There are too many germs involved with these programs.

  • Ok Santos-Hayes…a better plan would be to pay
    Us for our recyclables at curbside. “Turn your trash into cash”…Paper, plastic,
    Aluminum cans, tin cans, etc….those are commodities. How much
    Did the city receive for our discarded recyclables…
    Follow the money. Shouldn’t we be getting a credit
    On our utility bills for our clean and sorted recyclables.
    Shouldn’t you be paying Publix & Winn Dixie for
    That food that’s going to the homeless. Why not?
    You are going to make it too expensive for people
    To go out and eat and restaurants will go out of
    Business…the unintended consequences of government intervention…

  • Meanwhile none of these geniuses work a real job! Just leave already. What a bunch of performative virtue signaling wanna be AOCer hypocrites! This group has single handedly made business more restrictive, created mass party crowds, retaliated against female workers, fired its utility charter on a revenge tour, screwed up the city finances, and let it’s mediocre manager from south Florida dump mulch on a skate park during Covid. Who can forget that? We’re in the sitcom folks! Send them out in a one way with no return!

  • They are not satified just Bankrupting GRU and loosing thier cash cow. They are not satisfied with a debt chart like Pikes Peak. The are in denial of the recent state audit. Gov Densantis please step in as save Alachua County and the reckless disregard for Election Laws and Regulations demostrated by GOG and ACBOC.

  • So many comments against this but not one person at the meeting to oppose. Y’all need to get off your keyboards and go to these meetings. You have good arguments!

    • Rhonda. You would think elected officials would debate
      This. I have a job and cannot be there nor do I get channel 12. As for my 3 minutes, they don’t want me
      Talking and my 3 minutes are up. They have their minds
      Made up already and got their marching orders from
      The United Nations in violation to their loyalty oath of office
      To the state and US constitution. These people are
      Barrators. Their agenda is great reset and green new
      Deal. The end game is new world order, global totalitarianism, the prison planet. They think they’re
      Altruists but they are control freaks who want to destroy
      This country, our economy, and enslave the human race
      For eternity. All it takes for tyranny to take hold is for
      A few good people to do nothing. Could you have
      Stopped Jesus from being crucified on the cross?
      These people are perverts hiding behind social justice
      & equity…the devil is hiding behind the environment.
      Yeah, CO2 regulation, save the planet…you’ve been
      Deceived by the great deceiver.

      • Yeah, the voices in their heads are much more convincing than any voices from citizens.

  • The whole housing existential crisis they tout with their pals at the Sun must not be a that big a deal since they feel free to add a couple hundred dollars a year in additional garbage fees to renters. Can’t wait for the election photo op of a commissioner helping a median hobo correctly separate the leftovers of his latest free meal from the foam tray.

    • Excellent point. The consequences of their landlord
      Ordinance was rents went up. Now tenants will have
      To pay more for trash. I like spending money in the
      Local economy, but will start cooking my meals at
      Home because it’s getting too expensive to eat out.
      I’m a good tipper too, 20%. So, if it gets too expensive to
      Go to a restaurant, they will close and the employees will be unemployed. The undesired consequences of
      Their government interaction. The road to hell is paved
      With good intentions.

    • If the city wants to send a truck around to pick up food waste, the city should do that. It’s completely unrealistic to expect businesses to pay someone to drive the rotting/unsanitary food waste to a central location on a regular basis and wait in line to obtain a receipt. Businesses can’t find enough employees as it is now.

      • Industrial garbage disposals can send it to GRU water and sewer free! And cost us millions in new water treatment. Don’t forget: There are Always unintended consequences for new regulations, particularly ones that haven’t been tried.

  • “provides to each resident a container for transporting food waste to the collection area”…where are you going with that unauthorized steak waste…did you violate your monthly meat quota?

  • Wait till the state and Fed health departments hear about this BS
    Of course the lawyers will love it defending the homeless who contracted botulism.

    Can’t fix Stupid!

  • Can you handle the truth? Bullwinkle said it: “ the most efficient way to process
    The garbage is to put it all in one can and sort it at the transfer station”…separating
    At the source is not efficient. All they are doing is making
    The cost of living more expensive.

  • Mount Saint Felons only bursts on weekdays, so sorry thank you for play.

    Oh wait, this is a Wednesday

  • The flies, rats, and maggots bred from separated food waste will cause another pandemic. That’s how the Black Death happened in middle ages, the fleas from rats bit people too. Bird flu from scavenger birds, etc will get worse. More big gumment on the way is their commie chaos plan. Those section 8 and ex-luxury student apts. in Districts 1 & 3 are first to go down.

  • COG Commisioners and Leaders new excuse for finacial ruin of GRU and Gainesville . COVID FOG!

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