First Fulton County and now the city of Atlanta.
Nearly a month after the county’s board of commissioners voted to approve a resolution to have the county ask potential vendors to seek viable non-plastic alternatives to single-use plastic ware, the city is pondering a similar measure.
“Every day there’s a new headline and study detailing the dire position our planet is in,” District 2 Atlanta City Councilman Amir Farokhi said in a news release.
“The time to act on sustainability was yesterday. Elected officials at every level will be judged in the future by what they do today.”
At the council’s meeting Aug. 5 at City Hall downtown, Farokhi introduced legislation that would ban certain single-use plastics that are harmful to the environment in city-owned buildings, including Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
Plastic bags, straws and Styrofoam are among the items that would be banned.
The bill represents an important step forward in Atlanta’s effort to lead on environmental issues, Farokhi said, adding he believes every level of government is needed to tackle environmental issues.
Cities play an important role.
“City buildings, particularly at the airport through its retailers and restaurants, are major consumers of these harmful products. We can make a substantial impact by shifting to paper and reusables and substantial statement as a city by taking up this cause,” he said.
The legislation was introduced with a companion resolution asking the city to work with private retailers to replicate the plastics ban at venues like grocery stores and stadiums. It is critical that the ban for city buildings move forward first, Farokhi said.
“Before we can ask private companies to change their behaviors, we need to behave accordingly,” he said.
“This bill represents a leg to stand on as we attempt to build a broader public-private coalition.”
The legislation will be heard before the transportation and finance/executive committees Aug. 14 at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m., respectively, in Committee Room No. 1 at City Hall.