Zero Waste Gainesville

December 15, 2017


City Commissioner Adrian Hayes-Santos recommended for the City of Gainesville to move towards Zero Waste by the year 2040 at a City Commission meeting on October 26, 2017.

If you support this idea, and want to be more informed about it, please visit the website:  Zero Waste, and plan to go to a City Commission meeting after January 15, when the City Commission will vote on this measure.

The Suwannee St Johns Sierra Club Excom supports this project and we will work with the Zero Waste Gainesville project at a special event in January or/and in February 2018.

How can you be involved??? Very easy, bring some old but decent T-shirts (whether they are Sierra Club shirts or not does not matter at all, any type will do as long as they are still sturdy) at the next Sierra Club General Meeting on Thursday January 4, 2018….We will need these T-shirts to create shopping bags so we do not use single plastic bags at the supermarkets…. If you are able and willing, we will have an event at the Wednesday Downtown Farmers Market where we will make these T-shirts …So stay tuned and we will give you a date when that event will take place. It may be announced in the next SSJ newsletter.


December 13, 2017

Mayor and City Commissioners
City of Gainesville
200 E. University Ave.
Gainesville, FL 32601

Re: Single-Use Plastic Bag and Styrofoam Bans

Dear Mayor Poe and City Commissioners,

We, the undersigned organizations, write in full support of banning the distribution of single-use plastic bags and Styrofoam in the City of Gainesville. The benefits from approving the two ordinances are far-reaching and will positively impact human health, the environment and the economy.

Recent research has shown that both plastic bags and Styrofoam have the potential to impact human health. Styrofoam is made with styrene, which the Department of Health and Human Services has listed as “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen”. Styrofoam breaks down easily in the environment but never biodegrades and has been found to store toxins over time. Animals ingest these particles and the toxins accumulate in the food chain including the food that we eat, increasing the risk of humans consuming unsafe substances. Plastic bags have also been shown to cause negative impacts to our health. Harmful chemicals leach out of plastic and are found in the blood and tissue of nearly all of us. Exposure to them is linked to cancers, birth defects, impaired immunity, endocrine disruption and other ailments.

In addition to human health, it has been well documented that both plastic bags and Styrofoam negatively impact the environment. Both have been found in the most remote places in the world and are building up in our rivers, streams and oceans. Wildlife becomes entangled in bags, they mistake foam or plastic for food and eat it or feed it to their young. Most marine-based debris comes from land based litter, so the impact of banning these items will not only be felt in our City but across the State of Florida and beyond.

The economy suffers when we continue to use single-use plastic bags and Styrofoam. We are paying to ship more trash to the landfill by using items once and then discarding them. There is also the cost associated with litter clean-up as both items are commonly found along our streets and in our environment. In addition, we all benefit economically from Florida being a tourist destination, and by keeping our State clean people will continue to visit us for years to come.

Finally, we believe that local communities should make decisions that are good for them. We want Gainesville to stand strong with Coral Cables and encourage other local communities to take a stand. Luckily, there are cities across the country and world that have passed single-use plastic bag and Styrofoam bans and show it can be done. Consumer behavior has changed, positive impacts have followed, and the bans have been a success.

Thank you for your leadership on this issue.