Jul 29 2016

Folly Bans Plastic Bags and Styrofoam Coolers!

Update (8/9/16): The Folly Beach City Council unanimously votes to ban polystyrene coolers (best known by the brand name Styrofoam) or single use plastic bags, typically associated with bags handed out to customers after a purchase.

A second vote is required before this ordinance becomes law.

Paper or plastic?

It’s a phrase we’ve all become accustomed to hearing over the years but, soon, the latter choice may go the way of the Do-Dos on Folly Beach. As part of a new proposed ordinance, single-use plastic —along with polystyrene (best known by the brand name Styrofoam) — would be banned.

Spearheading the effort is City Councilman DJ Rich, who also co-owns popular local restaurant Planet Follywood.

“We don’t want to get that complicated with it. We don’t want to start any kind of revenue stream,” Rich told Fox 24 News. “We want to be stewards of our community, take care of our ecosystem and also be responsible government. We all want to work together and come up with the best possible conclusion.”

The ordinance is set to be heard at next week’s Folly Beach City Council meeting, after which more details will undoubtedly surface about the plan to phase out these products should the ordinance go into effect.

Although the measure would mean local businesses will need to purchase more sustainable products, which can be more costly, it would signal an important shift toward sustainability for Folly Beach and one that could have a huge impact on the preservation of our unique biodiversity.

In addition to being established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a possible human carcinogen, polystyrene is now considered one of the main components of marine debris. This is due in large part to the fact that it is lightweight, floats, and is virtually non-biodegradable — it can linger in excess of 500 years before it begins to break down.

As for plastic, just last year National Geographic reported that eight million metric tons of plastic makes its way into the world’s oceans each year, and that figure is expected to increase tenfold in the next decade unless something changes.

If the proposed ordinance is passed, Folly Beach is poised to become a part of the solution.

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