June 04, 2019
Town Council Passes Ordinance Banning Single-Use Plastic Carry Out Bags, Plastic Straws, and Polystyrene/Plastic Foam
On June 4, 2019, Town Council approved the second reading of a new ordinance banning single-use plastics on Kiawah Island effective September 8, 2019. With the passing of this ordinance, Town Council intends to protect and preserve the natural environment of Kiawah Island by regulating the use of materials detrimental to the island’s environment and promote the use by businesses and consumers of environmentally preferred materials.
The ordinance prohibits business establishments from distributing:
- Single-Use Plastic Carryout Bags
- Plastic Straws
- Products made from Polystyrene/Plastic Foam (Styrofoam), including food service ware.
In addition, the ordinance adds additional restrictions on the beach by prohibiting the possession and use of single-use plastic carryout bags, plastic straws, polystyrene/plastic foam products, and balloons.
Business establishments are encouraged to make reusable carryout bags available for sale, recyclable paper carryout bags available for such distribution and use, and to use locally recyclable and compostable material. Recyclable plastic bags must be a minimum thickness of 4 mils; capable of being cleaned and disinfected and have a minimum lifetime of one hundred twenty-five (125) uses.
This Ordinance does not apply to the following:
- Laundry dry cleaning bags, door-hanger bags, ice bags, newspaper bags, or packages of multiple bags intended for use as garbage, pet waste, or yard waste
- Bags provided by physicians, dentists, pharmacists or veterinarians to contain prescription drugs or other medical necessities;
- Bags used by a customer inside a business establishment to:
- Contain bulk items, such as produce, nuts, grains, candy, or small hardware items;
- Contain or wrap frozen foods, meat, or fish, whether or not prepackaged;
- Contain or wrap flowers, potted plants or other items to prevent moisture damage to other purchases; or
- Contain unwrapped prepared foods or bakery goods
- Bags used by a non-profit organization or other 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 that are not placed in a bag provided by the store;
- Plastic straws necessary for customers with medical or physical conditions.
- 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;
- Meat trays, plastic lids used to contain foods and liquids, to-go condiments and cutlery (i.e., forks, spoons, knives);
- Any product purchased, prepared or packaged outside the Town of Kiawah Island and sold in or delivered into the Town; and
- Emergency, Hospital, and Medical Supply and Services Procurement: In an emergency situation and for immediate preservation of the public peace, health or safety, Town of Kiawah Island facilities, food vendors, Town of Kiawah Island franchises, contractors and vendors doing business with the Town of Kiawah Island shall be exempt from the provisions of this Ordinance.
Request for Exemptions
A food or 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 the Chairman of the Environmental Committee showing that this Ordinance would create an undue hardship or practical difficulty not generally applicable to other persons in similar circumstances. Requests can be sent to Jim Jordan, Chairman of the Environmental Committee by mail to 4475 Betsy Kerrison Parkway Kiawah Island, SC 29455 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org