BREVARD COUNTY — In an effort to better protect the environment, the city of Satellite Beach will lead by example in an effort to “go green” after passing a resolution on July 17 to create a Green Team, and to phase out the use of single-use plastic items and expanded polystyrene (Styrofoam) products by city staff.
“Anything that staff would purchase is going to be reviewed by a Green Team, which is going to be comprised of individuals from every [city] department,” said Nick Sanzone, environmental programs coordinator for the city of Satellite Beach.
The Green Team will meet regularly to discuss single-use plastic and polystyrene items in the city’s inventory, what should be replaced, how it will be replaced and with what substitute.
“Maybe we can move towards a treeless paper across the city, that’s something every department can get behind... Items like sticky notes and things of that nature where we can create the camaraderie and the kind of collective conversation, so that we’re all collaborating together to reuse materials and keep a better eye on our energy usage,” Mr. Sanzone said.
On whether or not the idea at hand will be challenging, Mr. Sanzone said he is up for the task. He added that creating a monthly “lunch and learn” series or by sending out a weekly email as a reminder of the transition would open up discussion with city staff.
The Green Team will have a transitional period of 120 days to help city staff adapt to the resolution before it takes effect.
This new resolution is part of the city of Satellite Beach’s Sustainable Action Plan, which was established in 2017 after the city wrote up a Sustainability Assessment Report the previous year.
The Sustainable Action Plan also included the creation of 20 initiatives, called Green Achievement Targets, that the city would take on to improve certain areas, according to the city of Satellite Beach’s sustainability website.
These Green Achievement Targets, and other plans, will be reviewed and assessed by city staff every five years, whereas the Sustainability Board members and the public can voice new needs or determine the success of these initiatives.
“In our city of Satellite Beach, businesses and restaurants are really on board with a lot of this,” Mr. Sanzone said. “It’ll be a lot easier for us than some other city because we already established that framework within the community and they’re kind of prepared.
“If I go to Publix and I say, ‘I want those cookies in a box instead of in the plastic container,’ they’ll do that,” he continued. “You have to know to have that conversation, and you have to empower the individuals within the departments to have those conversations, and really bring it to the grassroots one-on-one level by working together with our community. I think that’s where we’re going to succeed.”
Satellite Beach restaurants like Pappagallo’s Pizza and Long Doggers have already started removing plastic straws from its facilities after the city passed a resolution to incentivize businesses to find alternatives.
It has been written in the city code under Chapter 26, Article 8- Environmental Protections, and under the city resolution No. 1002, vendors who attend and participate in a city event are prohibited from selling, using, giving away and dispensing of polystyrene products and plastic straws (or similar items).
Vendors must sign contracts when participating in events, which includes this city code and resolution.
“Within six months, we should be able to come away with real, usable goals that we can transition the city toward a more sustainable city by reducing our dependence on plastics and Styrofoam,” Mr. Sanzone said. “We did it before without plastics and Styrofoam for hundreds of years. We used and re-used materials, and we got along just fine without plastic and Styrofoam, so I don’t see why have to use things that we can find alternatives to.”
With the city of Satellite Beach taking steps for a more sustainable future, it’s not hard to see that residents alike can start their own journey toward a plastic free life.
To keep up with the city’s Sustainable Action Plan, visit www.gogreensb.org.