Single-Use Plastics & Styrofoam Ban

Single-Use Plastics Ban

Effective September 8, 2019, all businesses operating within the Town of Kiawah Island are prohibited from distributing the following items to their customers: (1) single-use plastic carryout bags, (2) plastic straws and (3) products made from polystyrene foam (Styrofoam), including food service ware. The possession of these items, with the addition of balloons, are prohibited on the beach.

Kiawah Town Council passed this new Ordinance on June 4 to regulate the use of harmful materials and promote the use of environmentally preferred materials. The goal of this Ordinance is to protect Kiawah’s natural environment, waterways, and marine life to ensure a positive environmental impact on our island for generations to come.

The Ordinance does not apply to the following list of exemptions:

  • Laundry dry cleaning bags, ice bags, or newspaper bags.
  • Garbage, pet waste, or yard waste bags.
  • Cutlery (i.e., forks, spoons, knives), meat trays, plastic lids used to contain foods and liquids, and to-go condiments.
  • Bags provided by physicians, pharmacists or veterinarians to contain prescription drugs or other medical necessities.
  • Bags used inside business establishments to contain bulk items or small hardware items
  • Meat, produce or bakery bags.
  • Bags or wraps for flowers, potted plants or other items to prevent moisture damage.
  • Bags used by a non-profit organization or hunger-relief charity to distribute food, grocery products, clothing, or other household items.
  • Bags of any type that the customer brings to the store for their own use for carrying away goods from the store.
  • Plastic straws necessary for customers with medical or physical conditions.
  • Reusable carryout bags that meet the following criteria:
    1. Displays in a highly visible manner on the bag exterior, language describing the bag’s ability to be reused and recycled;
    2. Has a handle, except that handles are not required for carryout bags constructed out of recyclable paper with a height of less than fourteen (14) inches and width of less than eight (8) inches; and
    3. Is constructed out of any of the following materials:
    4. Cloth, canvas, or other washable fabric, or other durable materials whether woven or non-woven;
    5. Recyclable plastic with a minimum thickness of 4 mils; capable of being cleaned and disinfected, and has a minimum lifetime of one hundred twenty-five (125) uses;
    6. Recyclable paper.
    7. Products made from polystyrene/plastic foam, which are wholly encapsulated or encased by more durable material, including but not limited to surfboards, boats, and life preservers.
Businesses that do not comply with this ordinance may face fines up to $500 per offense and other penalties defined in the Enforcement and Penalties section of the Ordinance. If you are unsure about an item, contact Jim Jordan, Chairman of the Environmental Committee (843-768-5106 | jjordan@kiawahisland.org ) or Chris Makowski, Communications Manager (843-768-5113 | cmakowski@kiawahisland.org). More information can also be found on our frequently asked questions webpage at https://www.kiawahisland.org/plasticsbanfaq/

Request for Exemptions: A grocery establishment or food provider may request an exemption from the requirements of this Ordinance, for a period up to one year, upon written request to Jim Jordan, Chairman of the Environmental Committee. The request must show that the Ordinance would create an undue hardship or practical difficulty not generally applicable to other persons in similar circumstances. Requests should be sent to Jim Jordan via email at jjordan@kiawahisland.org or by mail to 4475 Betsy Kerrison Parkway, Kiawah Island, SC 29455.

Helpful Resources

FAQs
What is the purpose?
Kiawah Town Council passed this new Ordinance to regulate the use of harmful materials and promote the use of environmentally preferred materials. The goal is to protect Kiawah’s natural environment, waterways, and marine life to ensure a positive environmental impact on our island for generations to come.

The items banned under this Ordinance are:

  • the most common products that escape into waterways and the ocean and have a harmful impact on the environment and marine life.
  • the main sources by marine life of entanglement and consumption causing injury and death.
  • break down into smaller pieces of plastic and enter the food chain of animals and eventually humans.
  • the products that have the highest carbon footprint and are easily replaceable.
What businesses are affected?
All business establishments within or conducting business with the Town of Kiawah including grocery stores, retail stores, hardware stores, liquor stores, convenience stores, farmers markets, restaurants, and other vendors.
When does the ban take effect?
September 8, 2019.
What items are banned?
  • Single-use plastic carryout bags
  • Plastic straws
  • Products made from polystyrene/plastic foam (Styrofoam) including disposable food service ware
  • In addition, the ordinance prohibits possession of these items and balloons on the beach.
What bags are permitted?
Reusable carryout bag specifically designed and manufactured for multiple uses that meet the following criteria:

  • Bags made of cloth, canvas, or other washable fabric, or other durable materials whether woven or non-woven;
  • Has a handle, except that handles are not required for carryout bags constructed out of recyclable paper with a height of less than fourteen (14) inches and width of less than eight inches; and is constructed out cloth, canvas, washable fabric, or other durable materials whether woven or non-woven;
  • Recyclable plastic with a minimum thickness of 4 mils; capable of being cleaned and disinfected, and has a minimum lifetime of one hundred twenty-five (125) uses
  • Recyclable paper;
  • Display in a highly visible manner on the bag exterior, language describing the bag’s ability to be reused and recycled.
What kind of food service ware is prohibited?
Any products made from polystyrene/plastic foam including but not limited to, containers, clamshells, bowls, plates, trays, cartons, cups, straws, stirrers, napkins, and other items designed for one-time use with prepared food, takeout food, and leftovers.
What items are exempt?
The Ordinance does not apply to the following list of exemptions:

  • Laundry dry cleaning bags, ice bags, or newspaper bags.
  • Garbage, pet waste, or yard waste bags.
  • Cutlery (i.e., forks, spoons, knives), meat trays, plastic lids used to contain foods and liquids, and to-go condiments.
  • Bags provided by physicians, pharmacists or veterinarians to contain prescription drugs or other medical necessities.
  • Bags used inside business establishments to contain bulk items or small hardware items
  • Meat, produce or bakery bags.
  • Bags or wraps for flowers, potted plants or other items to prevent moisture damage.
  • Bags used by a non-profit organization or hunger-relief charity to distribute food, grocery products, clothing, or other household items.
  • Bags of any type that the customer brings to the store for their own use for carrying away from the store goods.
  • Plastic straws necessary for customers with medical or physical conditions.
  • Recyclable plastic bags with a minimum thickness of 4 mils.
  • Products made from polystyrene/plastic foam, which are wholly encapsulated or encased by more durable material, including but not limited to surfboards, boats, and life preservers.
  • The complete list can be found here
Are plastic cups banned?
No, but Styrofoam ones are.
How can a business make this transition?
  • Make reusable carryout bags available for sale with your business logo.
  • Replace plastic straws with paper or bamboo straws.
  • Replace polystyrene foam products with products made from recyclable or biodegradable material.
  • Provide a discount to customers who bring their own reusable bag.
  • Place the Town’s promotional flyer in your storefront windows so your patrons know it’s the law.
  • Use this opportunity to promote being an environmentally friendly business establishment creating a favorable brand position.
What are the penalties?
Businesses that do not comply with this Ordinance may face fines up to $500 per offense and other penalties defined in the Enforcement and Penalties section of the Ordinance. If you are unsure about an item, contact Jim Jordan, Chairman of the Environmental Committee (843-768-5106 | jjordan@kiawahisland.org ) or Stephanie Braswell, Communications Manager (843-768-5113 | sbraswell@kiawahisland.org ). More information can also be found on our frequently asked questions webpage at www.kiawahisland.org/single-use-plastic-ban
Request for Exemptions
A grocery establishment or food provider may request an exemption from the requirements of this Ordinance, for a period up to one year, upon written request to Jim Jordan, Chairman of the Environmental Committee. The request must show that the Ordinance would create an undue hardship or practical difficulty not generally applicable to other persons in similar circumstances. Requests should be sent to Jim Jordan via email at jjordan@kiawahisland.org or by mail to 4475 Betsy Kerrison Parkway, Kiawah Island, SC 29455.

The Environmental Committee may approve the request for exemption in whole or in part, with or without conditions. The Environmental Committee shall issue its decision, in writing, within forty-five (45) days of receipt of the request.  The decision of the Environmental Committee may be appealed to Town Council.