NEW PORT RICHEY – Limiting the use of plastic products to lessen their negative effects on the environment and wildlife is a growing trend worldwide and New Port Richey may be getting onboard.
City Council heard a presentation during its June 4 regular meeting prepared by the Environmental Committee, a board filled by volunteers appointed by council.
No official action is expected at the June 4 meeting.
On May 13, the Environmental Committee voted unanimously to recommend to council the creation of a municipal ordinance prohibiting the use of plastic straws. The topic had been broached previously, but committee members felt more confident Tuesday following Gov. Ron DeSantis’s recent veto of House Bill 771. The bill, in part, sought to prevent cities and counties from creating ordinances that banned plastic products.
In addition to an ordinance banning plastic straws, the Environmental Committee also proposed the creation of another ordinance prohibiting single-use plastic bags and polystyrene products in the city.
“By moving forward with these two ordinances, the city will reaffirm its position among the leading environmental communities in the state — to say nothing of the dramatic impact it will make on the aesthetic appeal of our streets, waterways and parks,” the Environmental Committee’s chairman, former City Councilman Dell deChant, stated in a press release.
The committee supplied City Council with backup material that included ordinances passed by the cities of Coral Gables and Gainesville. In 2017, Coral Gables became the first Florida city to ban plastic bags. Gainesville passed an ordinance to ban polystyrene products and plastic bags, in January, though enforcement has been delayed from Aug. 1 to Jan. 1, 2020.
“With the detrimental environmental impact of plastic in general and single-use plastic bags in particular now well established in scientific studies, and increasingly recognized in society as a whole, it is appropriate for this city to again take a leadership role in environmental stewardship and enact such an ordinance,” read a statement from the Environmental Committee to City Council.
Tuesday’s discussion was on the agenda as a presentation. If viewed favorably, council could begin the process of drafting an ordinance and placing it on a future agenda for a first public reading. Ordinances need to be approved on first and second readings to be enacted.