The city of Atlanta is taking a stand on non-compostable single-use serviceware.

It’s banning those types of items, including plastic bags, polystyrene (i.e. Styrofoam) and plastic straws, in all city-owned buildings.

“Mayor (Keisha Lance) Bottoms and her team were enthusiastic partners on this from day one. This doesn’t get done without her leadership,” District 2 Atlanta City Councilman Amir Farokhi, who introduced the legislation, said in a news release. “Further, (District 1) Council member Carla Smith should be singled out for her hard work in helping move this bill forward. I was thrilled to have such an active partner in advocating for positive change.”

At its meeting Dec. 2 at City Hall downtown, the council voted 15-0 to approve the bill (Legislative Reference No. 19-O-1418), which prohibits the city or its contractors from buying, acquiring or making available to the public non-compostable single-use serviceware. The ban, which goes into effect Dec. 31, applies to all city buildings, including the concourses and terminals at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

“This bill is as much about us catching up to consumer expectations as it is about leading,” Farokhi said. “I’m proud of this bill and today’s vote. But there is more to do before we can stake a claim to being ahead of the curve on sustainability. I think there is a shared understanding of this fact. So, I hope that this bill is a first step and not the last word. Sustainability and climate change are defining challenges of our time. Inaction is unacceptable.”

Atlanta is not the first local municipality to approve green initiatives such as this one.

In July the Fulton County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution to have the county ask potential vendors to seek viable non-plastic alternatives to single-use plastic ware. Commission Chair Robb Pitts, who introduced the legislation, is pushing for a countywide ban on single-use plastics and is taking a gradual approach to the measure.

Nationwide, other cities such as Seattle have already approved ordinances requiring businesses to use non-compostable single-use serviceware.

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