Green Business

About

This program aligns with the City’s sustainability goals of reducing energy, water, fuel consumption, and waste while increasing recycling efforts, alternative transportation and sustainability education and outreach. The goal of the program is to recognize and reward our local businesses for all their amazing efforts. In addition, the program aims to educate business on additional sustainability initiatives they can implement. The program is FREE to participate. 

The Green Business Program focuses on the following areas:

  • Solid Waste Reduction and Recycling
  • Energy Conservation
  • Water Conservation 
  • Pollution Prevention
  • Transportation Alternatives
  • General Environmental Policy and Education   

More Information

  1. Submit the Coral Gables Green Business Program Application to manderson@coralgables.com. For any questions filling out this form please contact Matt Anderson at manderson@coralgables.com or call (305)-460-5008 
  2. City Staff from the Sustainable Public Infrastructure Division will follow up to verify application information and to schedule a site visit. 
  3. Once the site visit is complete, staff will review and provide feedback on your application and identify the recognition tier (Bonze, Silver, Gold, or Platinum) your business may receive.
  4. Enjoy not only helping the environment, but also all of the great benefits (listed below) of being a Coral Gables Certified Green Business
  • Each certified green business will be given a window decal and certificate to display at their business, and a digital link to the green business logo to place on their business cards/merchandise/etc.  (All tiers)
  • Recognition on the City’s and Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce websites (All tiers)
  • Recognition in the City’s E-News, Economic Development and/or Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce newsletters as a green business of the month and/or quarter. (Silver, Gold & Platinum tiers)
  • Highlight certified green businesses on the City’s Green Map (include “find a green businesses near you” section) (Gold & Platinum tiers)
  • Recognition on City and/or Chamber of Commerce Social Media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) (Gold & Platinum) 
  • Recognition at a City Commission Meeting and/or Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce event. (Gold & Platinum)
  • List of Sustainable Alternative Products to Single Use Plastic Disposable Items (List Created and Updated by Debris Free Oceans) Items listed above are marine degradable and backyard compostable products available in the Miami-Dade County area. Please note that it is always best to first REUSE and REFILL than to switch to any disposable products.
  • Reusables calculator: this online tool calculates the estimated cost savings and environmental benefits that businesses will obtain by using reusable instead of disposable products. Savings estimates can be calculated for a variety of disposable products, including straws, cutlery, cups, plates, and bowls.
Green Business Logo

See Our Certified Green Businesses

Find out more about the certified Green Businesses across Coral Gables from platinum to bronze tier.

See Our Certified Green Businesses

Guidance for Businesses

In this section

Plastic Bags

About

The City of Coral Gables gave the final approval on May 9, 2017 to prohibit the use of single-use carry out plastic bags in Coral Gables. Any entity or individual who has been issued a special event permit by the City is prohibited from providing items in single-use carry out plastic bags during special events. 

Certain exceptions exist for prescription medication bags, garbage bags and a few other limited categories. Residents will also be allowed to re-purpose carry out plastic bags. There are exemptions that allow the use of certain plastic bags such as those without handles used to protect food or merchandise from being damaged or contaminated, bags to hold prescription medications, those designed to be placed over articles of clothing on a hanger, door hanger bags, newspaper bags, garbage bags, pet waste bags and yard waste bags.

The City is strongly encouraging businesses to continue using sustainable alternatives.

Stores in Coral Gables are encouraged to use:

  • Reusable bags: One reusable bag can replace hundreds or even thousands of single-use plastic bags over the course of its lifetime. (Best Option)
  • Paper Bags (Made up of at least 40% recyclable materials)
  • Compostable plastic bags (ASTM D6400 certified)

For more information, please contact Matt Anderson at 305-460-5008 or manderson@coralgables.com

Expanded Polystyrene

About

Expanded polystyrene, most commonly known as Styrofoam, is a petroleum by-product that is neither readily recyclable nor biodegradable and takes hundreds to thousands of years to degrade in the environment. 

The City Commission of the City of Coral Gables declares that it is in the best interest of the public health, safety, and welfare of its residents and visitors to reduce litter and pollutants on the land and in the waters of the City. The goal of the ordinance is promote replacing expanded polystyrene items with reusable, recyclable, or compostable alternatives whenever possible thus helping remove it from the waste stream. To help lead by example, the City has ceased purchasing products that are made of expanded polystyrene.

Who Does the Prohibition Apply To?  

  • City Vendors or Contractors in City Facilities,  which include but is not limited to, any building, structure, park, or golf course owned, operated or managed by the City
  • Special Event Permittees and their subcontractors  which include any person or entity issued a special events permit by the City for a special event on City property, in a City facility or in the City’s right-of-way.
  • The City is strongly encouraging businesses to continue using sustainable alternatives. Businesses can qualify for the City's Green Business Certification Program. 

Exceptions:  

  • Expanded polystyrene  food service articles used for prepackaged food  that have been filled and sealed prior to receipt;
  • Expanded polystyrene  food service articles used to store raw meat, pork, fish, seafood or poultry  sold from a butcher case or similar refrigerated retailed display or storage case,
  • Not-for-profit corporations, the school district, and county, state and federal governmental entities. 

Alternatives to Expanded Polystyrene (Styrofoam) to Consider:

  1. Items that are reusable such as the traditional bowls, cups, and plates that are made of glass, ceramic or stainless steel.(Best Option)
  2. Items that are accepted in the single stream recycling process (Plastics #1-#5 and #7, Paper, etc.)
  3. Items that are Certified Compostable

Skip the Straw

About

In partnership with the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce, the City of Coral Gables is also encouraging local businesses to “Skip the Straw.” 

Who does this Ordinance Affect?

  • City Contractor means a contractor, vendor, concessionaire of the city, or operator of a city facility or property.
  • City Facility includes, but is not limited to, any building, structure, park, or golf course owned, operated or managed by the city.
  • Special Event Permittee means any person or entity, and their subcontractor, issued a special events permit by the city for a special event on city property, in a city facility or in the city's right-of-way.

Acceptable Alternatives:

The preference is to ask customers if they need a straw when ordering a beverage instead of automatically providing one. If a customer does request a straw, then the goal is to replace the single use plastic straws and stirrers with non-plastic materials such as:

  • Reusable Straw/Stirrer: (example: metal) Best Option
  • Paper
  • Sugar cane
  • Bamboo
  • Other similar sustainable materials. 

Please note: Compostable and biodegradable petroleum or biologically based polymer stirrers and lid plugs (splash sticks) are not acceptable alternatives.

Exceptions:  

  1. The requirements shall not restrict a city contractor or special event permittee from providing a beverage with, or offering the use of, a single-use plastic beverage straw or single-use plastic stirrer upon request by or for an individual with a disability or medical condition that necessitates the use of a single-use plastic beverage straw or single use plastic stirrer. Such request does not require disclosure of the individual’s disability.
  2. This prohibition shall not apply to single-use plastic beverage straws or single-use plastic stirrers used, provided, or given out by individuals who are special events permittees for the purpose of hosting a small private event (100 people or less) (e.g. birthday party, family reunion).
  3. This prohibition shall not apply to pre-packaged drinks where plastic straws have been attached to or sealed with beverages prior to receipt. 

Penalties (Contractors)

  1. City contractors shall not sell or use single-use plastic beverage straws or single-use plastic stirrers within the city or in completing their duties to the city under contract. 
  2. A violation of this section shall be deemed a default under the terms of the city contract, lease or concession agreement. 
  3. Any city contract, or concession agreement entered into prior to the effective date of this section shall not be subject to the requirements of this section, unless the city contractor voluntarily agrees thereto. This section shall not apply to contract extensions where the contractor has the option. If the city has the option of extension, however, the city manager may consider whether the contractor complies or is willing to comply with subsection (b) (l) of this section in determining whether to extend the contract. 

Penalties (Special Event Permittees)

  1. Special event permittees and their subcontractors shall not sell, use, or provide a beverage with a single-use plastic beverage straws or single-use plastic stirrers in city facilities.
  2. Upon warning, the special event permittee must stop use of single-use plastic beverage straws or single-use plastic stirrers or replace them with a non-single-use plastic alternative as soon as practicable. If the special events permittee does not do so within a reasonable amount of time, he/she may be forced to discontinue the service, sale or participation in the event.
  3. A violation of this section shall constitute a City code violation and may result in the revocation of the special events permit and fines and may be grounds for the placement of conditions on or for denial of a future special events permit.

Plastic Bag in the Ocean

Plastic Bags

Watch our video providing more information on why we've prohibited single-use carry-out plastic bags.

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