plastic and garbage on a beach

Plastic Waste Reduction

The City is taking action to protect our ocean from harmful plastic pollution and help keep our streets, parks, and beaches clean and litter free. City Ordinance No. 21-12 prohibits the use of these plastic items on City property:
•    Polystyrene foam, or “Styrofoam,” food ware (containers, bowls, plates, cups, lids, etc.) 
•    Unencapsulated polystyrene foam products (coolers, ice chests, pool toys, etc. that are not encased in a more durable material)
•    Balloons and confetti (banned from outdoor areas of City Property only)

City residents are encouraged to REFUSE, REDUCE, and REUSE plastics by taking the Pass on Plastics Pledge. ⇩

The Pass on Plastics Pledge provides a $10 discount on pavilion and facility rentals to users who pledge to use environmentally friendly alternatives to polystyrene foam, balloons, confetti, and other plastic products. You will have the option to sign the pledge and receive the discount when you reserve a facility or picnic pavilion

You can help reduce plastic pollution every day by pledging to:
•    REFUSE disposable plastic whenever possible. Say "no straw, please" and “no bag, please.” Carry your own water bottle, shopping bags and utensils.
•    REDUCE your use of goods that contain excessive plastic packaging and parts. If it will leave behind plastic trash, don't buy it.
•    REUSE durable bottles, bags, dishes, utensils, straws, and to-go containers. Choose glass, metal, paper, wood, and other reusable materials over plastic.
•    RECYCLE plastic bottles and containers, cans, glass, and cartons in your BLUE bin, and paper products in your YELLOW bin.

Are you a restaurant owner? Take your environmental commitment to the next level by joining the City of Boynton Beach Green Business Recognition Program!

Plastic pollution is the most widespread problem affecting the ocean environment, threatening wildlife and coastal tourism. Every year, about 8 million tons of plastic waste enters the ocean—the equivalent of one garbage truck of plastic every minute. About 700 species of marine animals have reportedly eaten or become entangled in plastic. 

Polystyrene foam (“Styrofoam”) commonly blows out of garbage cans and breaks down into tiny pieces, called microplastics, that are very difficult to remove from the environment. Plastics do not go away; they continue to break into smaller fragments that can work their way up the food chain. The harm caused to humans by ingesting microplastics in our food and water has yet to be measured. 

Recycling alone is not the solution to plastic pollution. Less than 10 percent of American plastic waste is recycled. In Palm Beach County and many other places, only certain plastic types (those marked #1, #2, and #5) are accepted at recycling facilities.

“Bioplastics” and those marked as “compostable” are also not the solution. These products generally only break down in an industrial composting facility – they do not biodegrade in home compost, landfills, or when loose in the environment. No such industrial composting facility exists in Palm Beach County as of 2021. Bioplastics (marked as #7) can also contaminate municipal recycling programs when people unknowingly add them to their recycling. 

To truly make an impact on plastic pollution, the best choice is to avoid single-use plastics whenever possible.

To reduce plastic waste, use reusable plates, cups, and utensils whenever possible. Durable materials include stainless steel, ceramic, glass, wood, bamboo, and hard plastic. These items can be used over and over again for years, saving money in the long run!

If reusable items are not practical, please choose your disposable items wisely. For plates, cups, and bowls, paper is typically the best and least expensive alternative. Food ware made of bamboo, wood, and sugarcane are also available. If choosing plastic, please read the labels and pick recyclable plastics (marked #1, #2, or #5) and make sure to dispose of them in a blue recycle bin. Plastic straws are never recyclable -- choose paper or reusable, or just skip the straw! 

Also, there is no more need for Styrofoam coolers now that fully biodegradable coolers are available!

Please be aware that many plastic and foam products advertised as “compostable” or “plant based” can only be composted at industrial composting facilities (which do not exist in Palm Beach County). If littered in the environment, these items cause just as much pollution as other plastics.  
 
Many alternative food ware products are available at local retailers (Publix, Target, Walmart, Restaurant Depot, BJ's, CVS, etc.) at prices that are competitive with polystyrene foam.

Balloons go up, and they DO come back down—as unsightly litter or worse. Turtles and other animals mistake balloons for food, which can cause sickness or death if consumed. Mylar balloons, with their thin metallic coating, can be a fire hazard if they get caught up in powerlines. There is no such thing as a "natural" or "biodegradable" balloon. 

Plastic confetti are tiny “microplastics,” which can easily be washed away by rain and end up in the ocean or other water bodies. A 2018 study from Loggerhead Marine Life Center found that 96 out of 97 juvenile sea turtles had microplastics in their stomachs. Confetti made or metallic metal or mylar can also harm wildlife.

You can still have a party outdoors without using balloons and confetti! Consider plastic-free decorations such as paper, felt, or wooden products. You can also make natural confetti out of flower petals or by punching leaves with a hole puncher. Include these options and you’re well on your way to having a sustainable party.

To comply with Ordinance No. 21-12 prohibiting the use of polystyrene foam (Styrofoam), City contractors and vendors must use alternatives made of one of the following materials:
•    Paper
•    Aluminum (lids made of paper or recyclable plastic #1, #2, or #5)
•    Recyclable plastic (#1, #2, or #5)  
•    Biodegradable products made of 100% plant material (e.g., bagasse/sugarcane fiber, wheat straw, palm leaf, bamboo)

Here are some examples of takeout containers that can be used instead of polystyrene foam. All of these include options for < $0.25 per unit. Paper food trays are often < $0.05 per unit. 

Restaurant Depot:
•    Southland Red Check Paper Food Trays
•    Paper Take-Out Boxes
 

Sysco:
•    Earth Choice Plastic Hinged Container 
•    Earth Plus Kraft Takeout Container

Imperial Dade
•    Paper Food Trays  
•    Paper Takeout Boxes

Webstaurant
•    Paper Food Trays 
•    Paper Takeout Boxes
•    9" Round Foil with Board Lid
•    Fold-Pak Earth Paper 32 oz
•    Clear Hinged PET (#1) Plastic 9" Medium Oblong Container