Prohibition of Plastics & Polystyrene

   Plastic Bags and Polystyrene Containerssergeant major and plastic bag

On June 11, 2019, the Town of Palm Beach Town Council adopted Ordinance No. 24-2019 to prohibit the use of expanded polystyrene containers and single-use carry out plastic bags within the corporate limits of the Town of Palm Beach.




(photo source: Diane Buhler, Founder/President of Friends of Palm Beach)


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Plastic Straws & Stirrers

On July 9, 2019, the Town of Palm Beach Town Council adopted Ordinance No. 23-2019, the prohibition of plastic straws and stirrers within the corporate limits of the Town of Palm Beach.






(photo source: Antonette Fabrizi, Town of Palm Beach)

Effective Date of Prohibition

The regulations included in the Ordinances will take effect on December 12, 2019 allowing for businesses to expend their current stock of plastic bags, polystyrene containers, plastic straws and stirrers. Thus, replacing these items with reusable, recyclable, or compostable alternatives whenever possible.

Why the Ban on Plastics & Polystyrene?how-long-does-plastic-take-break-down-decomposition

Expanded polystyrene containers, plastic bags and plastic straws are detrimental to our environment. They do not fully degrade, they overburden landfills, introduce unsafe chemicals into the environment, become litter and create hazards for land and aquatic animals due to ingestion, and create impediments to waste reduction and recycling goals, while creating unsightly litter.

In the best interest of the public health, safety and welfare of our residents and visitors to reduce litter and pollutants on the land and in the waters in and surrounding the Town of Palm Beach.

What was Banned?

Single-use plastic straws or stirrers shall not be used, sold,or distributed

Polystyrene Containers shall not be used, sold, offered for sale or use, or have food or beverages provided in expanded polystyrene containers. 

Single-use Plastic Bags shall not be used, sold, offered to sale or use, or provided to any person.

What is Expanded Polystyrene?

Expanded polystyrene is a petroleum based plastic most commonly incorrectly referred to by the name of “Styrofoam” which is actually the proprietary trade name of a polystyrene foam product.

What is a Single-Use Plastic Bag?

Single-Use carry out plastic bag means a bag provided to a customer, typically at the point of sale or distribution, for the purpose of transporting items, which is made predominantly of plastic derived from petroleum or a biologically-based source.

What Constitutes a Reusable Bag?

Reusable bag means a carryout bag that is specifically designed and manufactured for multiple reuse and meets the following criteria: 

  1. Displays in a highly visible manner on the bag exterior, language describing the bag's ability to be reused and recycled; 
  2. Constructed out of any of the following materials:     
    • cloth, other washable fabric, or other durable materials whether woven or non-woven; 
    •  recyclable plastic, with a minimum thickness of 2.25 mils (thickness specifications must be displayed in a highly visible manner on the bag exterior) or 
    • recyclable paper

Who Does the Prohibition of Plastics Distribution Apply to?

  1. Town Vendors/ Contractors using Town Facilities 
  2. Special Event Permittees and their Subcontractors
  3. Food Service Providers
  4. Retail Establishments

Are There Any Exemptions for Plastic Bags and Polystyrene Containers?

Yes. The prohibition shall not apply to the following:

  1. Expanded polystyrene containers used for prepackaged food that have been filled and sealed prior to receipt by the food service provider or retail establishment.
  2. Expanded polystyrene containers used to store raw meat or seafood sold from a butcher case or similar refrigerated display or storage case. 
  3. Compostable bags that: 
    • conform tot the current ASTM D61400
    • are certified and labeled as meeting the ASTM D6400 standard specification by a recognized verification entity
    • are capable of undergoing biological decomposition in a composite site such that the material breaks down into carbon dioxide, water, inorganic compounds, and biomass at a rate consistent with known compostable materials
  4. Reusable bags, meaning bags with handles that are specifically designed and manufactured for multiple reuse and made of durable material specially designed for and provided to consumers with the intention of multiple, long-term use
  5. Any bags with out handles provide to a costumer 
    • to protect food or merchandise form being damaged or contaminated by other food or merchandise, when items are placed together in a reusable bag or recyclable bag, including produce bags
    • to hold prescription medications dispensed from a pharmacy or veterinary office 
    • that is designed to be placed over articles of clothing on a hanger, including dry cleaning bags

Are There Any Exemptions for Plastic Straws and Stirrers?

Yes. The prohibition shall not apply to the following:

  1. Pre-packaged beverages with plastic straws sold or distributed within the Town provided that such beverages are:
    • prepared and packaged outside the Town and are not altered,
    • packaged or repackaged within the Town
  2. Medical or dental facilities.
  3. Land or facilities owned and managed by:
    • the Palm Beach County School Board
    • Palm Beach County
    • State of Florida or the Federal Government.
  4. The use of a straw by any disabled person that requires or relies on the use of a straw to consume beverages and/or food supplements.
  5. Use during a locally declared emergency.

How is the Prohibition Being Enforced?

After December 12, 2019, the Town will enforce this article by civil citation in accordance with Chapter 2, Article V, Section 2-439.