Why you could see fewer plastic bags and straws in North Myrtle Beach

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North Myrtle Beach is the next municipality to join a nationwide effort to preserve the environment by eliminating the presence of plastic.

During its Monday meeting, city council members adopted a resolution supporting the implementation of a long-term strategy to reduce single-use plastics and keep the non-biodegradable items from polluting the environment. The resolution proclaims the council’s commitment to “supporting the continuous improvement of health, environment stewardship and overall quality of life in our community.”

“Single-use non-biodegradable plastics are increasingly coming into focus as a threat to land and sea, and an important source of environmental and habitat damage, in addition to being an eyesore when disposed of improperly,” city officials stated in a news release.

Council members expressed the importance in providing visitors with a high quality, clean, safe and environmentally responsible experience as tourism continues to boom in the area.

Locally, Surfside Beach banned plastic bags last year. Other areas, including Hilton Head Island, Beaufort County, the Isle of Palms, Folly Beach and Bluffton, have banned plastic bags from their stores and restaurants. Along the Murrells Inlet Marshwalk, several restaurants switched from plastic straws to paper ones.

The council hopes to launch a multipronged approach to reducing plastic. Plans include providing a more focused effort on litter control and cleanup, and proper disposal of the plastics through a campaign of education and community cleanup drives; aggressive lobbying for local control of this and similar issues, and aggressive opposition of any state legislative initiatives that would hinder local control; expanding community education initiatives highlighting the threat plastic poses to the environment; and working with the local business community to help phase out the use of plastics in their packaging and processing activities.

The council also is hoping to create local legislation that would target the elimination of single-use plastic grocery bags as alternatives become cost effective and readily available. City officials are working on a proposed ordinance pertaining to this issue.

The first reading is scheduled to take place at the March 4 meeting.
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