Plastic bag and foam container ban passes first reading in Charleston City Council

A city-wide ban on plastic bags, straws, and foam containers advanced in Charleston City Council after a robust debate between city officials Tuesday night. If passed, the ordinance would make Charleston the largest city in the state to adopt a bag ban after similar efforts from coastal communities stretching from Surfside Beach to Beaufort County.

The ban would go into effect a year after ratification to give businesses enough time to adjust to the new rules. Businesses could file for an extension if they prove that switching to sustainable methods would pose an undue burden.

During the public comments section, a sea of hands went up when Mayor John Tecklenburg asked supporters of the ban to identify themselves. Only one man raised his hand in opposition.

"This will pass," said Justin Ferira, a real estate developer and a member of the Surfrider Foundation, one of the main groups spearheading "Strawless Summer" campaigns for the past two years. "I ask you to be be pioneers and step up and get that done tonight."

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