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New Gainesville ordinances aim to reduce plastic waste, protect the environment

Press release from City of Gainesville

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The first of several new solid waste ordinances approved by the Gainesville City Commission is scheduled to take effect Friday, Sept. 2.

In June, the commission approved three new zero waste ordinances, renewing the City’s commitment to protecting the environment through sustainable practices and to reaching its zero-waste goal by 2040. Initial notifications outlining the changes were mailed out to Gainesville businesses in July.

“The changes will help reduce the amount of plastic litter in our community and keep it off the streets, and out of our parks, greenspaces, and waterways,” said Gainesville City Commissioner Adrian Hayes-Santos, chair of the Zero Waste Subcommittee that drafted the new ordinances with input gathered from neighbors and business owners during the previous two years.

One change included in the new ordinances applies to single-use plastic food accessories such as plastic utensils, condiment packets, and portion cups. The new ordinance limits dispensing these items unless they’re specifically requested by the customer or are made available to the customers at self-serve stations.

“Each of us can decide for ourselves whether or not we need plastic utensils rather than having them routinely thrown in with our orders. Together we can cut down on the amount of plastic waste polluting our environment,” he said. 

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Additional provisions scheduled to take effect Friday include requiring recycling bins for the collection of bottles and cans and placing recycling bins next to garbage containers. The new changes impact fast-food establishments, convenience stores, supermarkets, bars, and restaurants.

The new Gainesville ordinance also bans the intentional release of plastic balloons, consistent with a Florida statute designed to protect wildlife and marine animals.

The City’s ordinance includes a ban on the intentional release of plastic glitter and plastic confetti. Officials recommend the use of non-plastic alternatives such as paper confetti and advise popping inflated balloons and disposing of them in the trash.

“Every helium balloon that’s released into the atmosphere returns to earth as litter, and none are recyclable. They break down into microplastics and create a hazard for our aquatic and land animals when ingested,” said City of Gainesville Sustainability Manager Mike Heimbach.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, scientists estimate more than eight million tons of plastic enter the world’s oceans every year.

Future solid waste changes scheduled to become effective in 2023, 2024, and 2025 are designed to divert excess food and food waste out of area landfills through residential and commercial composting and through donations to food banks, soup kitchens, and shelters.

  • These idiots think they are live in California let’s vote them out of office before they want to band gasoline car sales in Gainesville

    • Agree! Leave it to screwballs like Lying Hyphen-Hayes (the Canadian-Spaniard wannabe – I wish I was a minority!”), Clunky washed-up Ward, and Pudgy Poe to dream up this kind of recycled garbage to make life as difficult and unlivable as possible for our citizens. Will have zero effect on pollution or landfills.around here. Only reason any of these zeros want it is to make a name for themselves to attract well known super libs to support them. Grandiose desire is to be a super-lib tied to Bill Gates or George Soros. Forget it failures! You won’t succeed at anything!!!

  • Go ahead ,ban gasoline car sales in Gville. I have bought over 100 vehicles over the years , but very few in Gville. When you have the highest taxes and highest utilities in the State its hard for them to be comppetetive. Just drove down to Clermont last month and saved $6,000.00 .

  • Voters in Gainesville are so incredibly gullible, it’s not the residents throwing trash on the sidewalks and streets – it’s the trash local leadership keeps inviting here.

    When the voters have had enough, (Duck Pond area voters), you’ll throw out the trash you keep electing which will do more to get rid of the trash than any recycle bin.

  • How about returning to deposit bottles versus plastic?

    Noooo, let’s make it harder on area businesses. Like your paper straws!

    Good thing for term limits!

    • The State had an advance disposal fee many years that was Awkward and made items more expensive…they did away with that. When I was a kid in the 60’s, you could bring back your glass Soda bottle to the store and they Would give you a nickel or a dime which was a lot of money back then…they probably didn’t like the vermin that comes with dirty bottles.

  • I had a discussion with a garbologist many years ago about our big black garbage cans and our recycling program….the truth is: it’s more efficient to not separate at curbside…just put everything in the big black can and it will be separated at the transfer station. Why doesn’t the garbologist say anything about this? Is he covering for the waste companies who are big biz and mafia controlled? Could it be that he receives grants and doesn’t want to get involved in local politics? How much money does the city and county receive for
    The commodities like plastic, aluminum, tin, paper, glass that get separated? For example, aluminum trades for $1.16 a pound. How many pounds of aluminum beer & soda cans went into the trash and how much did local government get for that one thing…
    Your trash is the same as cash. The city should open some neighborhoods recycling kiosks where we can put our aluminum cans or plastic bottles and get paid cash or a credit on our utility bill. They keep the garbage biz archaic because it’s big biz.

  • Where did they get the idea of zero waste by 2040? Was that a mandate from the state or is that marching orders from the United Nations? Why are our local politicians taking their marching orders from a foreign government when they took an oath to uphold the state & US constitutions? These damn commies infiltrated our government and learning institutions.

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