Single-Use Plastics Initiative

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Plastics are having a huge impact on our environment. Every day, we hear more stories about how they are accumulating in our oceans and causing harm to animals and humans alike. 

The City of Palm Springs is launching an initiative to reduce or eliminate single-use plastics across the City.  We will be expanding this website as this initiative takes shape to include resources, information, and other useful tools to help everyone reduce their use of plastics.

Single-use Plastics in the Age of COVID-19

Some questions have been raised recently about whether or not reusable bags, cups, and containers, which are often used in place of single-use plastics, should be used in light of the spread of the Coronavirus. Although there is evidence that the Coronavirus does linger on some surfaces for up to three days, the Center for Disease Control has downplayed the risk of surface transmission on the “How it Spreads” page. Specifically, they note that touching surfaces and touching your face “is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.” Washing your hands with soap and warm water or using a hand sanitizer when you touch surfaces that may be contaminated can help reduce this risk. This position has only been strengthened by more recent studies on actual case transmission.

Although residents should wash or disinfect their reusable bags and containers regularly, we are recommending that you wash or disinfect your bags and containers after each use using soap and warm water or a disinfectant. This, along with hand washing, will help further reduce the possibility of surface transmission of the Coronavirus or any other surface-born pathogen.

Unfortunately, out of extreme caution, many cities and states, including California and Palm Springs, suspended their bans on single-use plastic bags to provide people with additional options during the pandemic. However, based on this new information and following the State's lead, the City will resume enforcement of its ban on single-use plastics (Municipal Code 6.09) and encouraging businesses to allow customers to use reusable bags when they bag their own items. 

Please check the CDC's website for more information about how to protect yourself and your family. Read more about what 125 health professionals say about reusables at this website. 

The City Hosted Two Stakeholder Sessions on the Single-use Plastics Ordinance on Monday September 16th 

As part of its effort to develop a single-use plastic food ware ordinance, the City hosted two stakeholder input sessions on September 16th. Invitations were sent directly to all food service establishments in the City and reminders were sent through hospitality and business email groups. The invitation was also posted on social media.  

Although there were not a lot of businesses in attendance, the feedback received was valuable and will help shape the ordinance. In particular, participants emphasized the need for affordable and acceptable alternatives to single-use plastic, having clarity on what types of materials are considered appropriate substitutes, and having an ordinance that reflects the unique elements of our City such as the significant number of tourists that visit throughout the year. All agreed that a culture change is needed in addition to any ordinance. 

We appreciate everyone who made the time to attend. In particular, we wanted to thank Misti Rausch from Native Foods who presented on their long-standing approach to reducing their plastic footprint.

Plastic Straw and Styrofoam Pollution

The fourth grade class at the Desert Learning Center in Palm Springs along with their teacher, Ms Yada, have produced two Public Service Announcements (PSA) on the dangers of plastic straw and Styrofoam pollution in an effort to save sea turtles. The PSA's were shown to members of the Sustainability Commission and City Council along with presentations from the students. The Sustainability Commission is currently looking at this subject and appreciates the work these students have done. The link below will take you to a news story about the PSA the students developed: 

The links below will take you to the PSA's, although you will  need to get permission to access them: