CHARLESTON S.C (WCBD)—On Thursday, city leaders will have a resiliency and sustainability committee meeting to discuss new regulations and updates on single-use plastics such as take-out bags and plastic utensils.
The additional restrictions to be considered on single-use plastics could impact Charleston restaurants.
If enforced, the new restrictions would prohibit restaurants from giving out plastic utensils unless specifically requested by the customer.
Katie McKain, a director of the Sustainability of Charleston, said this rule is intended to help protect the environment from waste and trash that can create problems for the ecosystem.
“So there’s a lot of ways that litter ends up in our streets in modern ways in, of course, it ends up in rivers upstream and then travels down to our coast, so this policy was a way to address that issue,” said McKain.
The new rule could cause headaches for local restaurants. Eli Hyman, a downtown restaurant owner, said with the cost of living and supplies increasing, this could be a significant financial setback for other local businesses.
“Every time there’s a government regulation, it affects the bottom line in this day with labor going up tremendously, food cost is astronomical. Unfortunately, every time there’s a regulation in place, it just puts a lot of strain on a business,” said Hyman.
Committee members said they’re taking restaurant owners’ issues and concerns into consideration but believe ultimately it will be worth it.
“The end goal is to keep producing plastic as much as we possibly can, so helping people adjust to bringing their plastic bags to the store,” said McKain.
If approved, the new rules would take effect in six months.