City of Orlando officially bans single-use plastics and polystyrene on city property


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Single-use plastics and polystyrenes are now a thing of the past in Orlando's city-owned and operated spaces.

The Orlando City Council unanimously signed off on a policy Monday that bans the use of items such as plastic straws, bags and utensils, and Styrofoam ice chests and cups, at city parks and venues including the Amway Center, Camping World Stadium and the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.

The policy – a part of the city's Community Sustainability Action Plan – is the first of its kind in Florida, the commissioners claim. Elsewhere, cities such as Boston, Chicago and Seattle have taken similar steps in banning non-reusable plastic products in recent years.

"It's one of those areas that as a city we strive to lead in, so other governments can follow," Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said at the meeting.

Roughly 500 million straws are used daily in the U.S. – an average of 1.6 straws per person, enough to fill more than 127 school buses each day – a study by the nonprofit recycling company Eco-cycle found.

Similarly, a study produced by the United Nations estimated that up to 5 trillion single-use plastic bags are used annually worldwide.

"I'm delighted to see that we are imposing [single-use plastic ban] on city-owned facilities, venues, parks and events," Orlando Commissioner Patty Sheehan said at the meeting. "I was embarrassed a few years ago to see we covered Lake Eola Park on Earth Day in garbage, so I'm glad to see we're doing something about this, in making sure that we are implementing responsible policies to benefit our environment."

For customers with disabilities, or at family get-togethers with less than 100 folks in attendance, plastic straws will be available upon request.

The policy goes into effect Oct. 1.

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