What is Expanded Polystyrene and Why is the City Prohibiting the Use of It?
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. Products that are made from expanded polystyrene can include, but are not limited to, plates, bowls, cups, containers lids, trays, coolers, ice chests, food containers, etc. It can fragment into smaller pieces that can be ingested by marine life and other wildlife, thus harming and killing them and constitutes a portion of the litter in the City’s streets, parks, public places, and waterways.
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?
When is the Prohibition Being Implemented?
On January 1, 2017 , Code Enforcement began issuing tickets for violations of the Ordinance. The City provided a one year phase out/educational period for food service providers and stores to transition away from expanded polystyrene to the sustainable alternatives.
How is the Prohibition Being Enforced?
After January 1, 2017, if a code enforcement officer finds a violation of section 34-188, the code enforcement officer shall issue a ticket.
A violator who has been issued a ticket must elect to either
(1) Pay the following civil fine:
(a) First violation within a 12-month period........................$50.00
(b) Second violation within a 12-month period...................$100.00
(c) Third violation within a 12-month period......................$500.00; or
(d) Any subsequent violation within a 12-month period.....$1,000.00
(2) Request an administrative hearing before a special master as set forth in Art. VI, Division 3 of the City Code of Ordinances.
Financial Hardship Waiver
Any food service provider or store that reported an annual gross income (revenue) under $500,000 per location on its income tax filing for the most recent tax year, and that is not a chain food service provider or chain store, may request form the City Commission, a financial hardship waiver of the requirements of this article. The financial hardship waiver request may apply to one or more expanded polystyrene food service articles sold, used or offered for sale or use by any such food service provider or store. The City Commission may grant a waiver if the food service provider or store proves the following:
(a) there is no comparable alternative product not composed of expanded polystyrene that would cost the same as or less than the expanded polystyrene food service article, and
(b) the purchase or use of an alternative product not composed of expanded polystyrene would create and undue financial hardship.
Such Financial Hardship Waver Certified Claim Form shall be valid for twelve (12) months and may be renewable upon application to the City Commission.
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Alternatives to Expanded Polystyrene (Styrofoam) to Consider
Reference in this site to any specific commercial product, process, or service, or the use of any trade, firm or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public, and does not constitute endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the City of Coral Gables.
If you have any additional questions on the expanded polystyrene ordinance please call Matt Anderson at 305-460-5008 or email firstname.lastname@example.org