During the December 7th committee meeting of Ambler’s Borough Council, it was announced that a hearing will take place on December 21st on a proposed ordinance that would limit or prohibit single-use plastics.
The text of the proposed ordinance (view here) outlines the types of establishments that the ordinance would impact (restaurants and retail). It then delves into what is prohibited. From the ordinance:
9-2. Conduct Prohibited.
It shall be a violation of this ordinance for any business located within the Borough of Ambler to provide or make available single use plastic carry out bags, Styrofoam and polystyrene foam containers, and plastic drinking straws to customers or the general public. In connection with the products and goods, except, however, that plastic straws may be supplied without violating the ordinance when the customer makes a request for a plastic straw.
It shall be a violation of this ordinance for any bsuiness located within the Borough to fail to make available some reusable or recyclable bag or box for the transport of purchased items, and, where plastic straws are proviced, it is a violaton to not also provide recyclable or reusable alternative.
It shall be a violation of this ordinance for any business located within the Borough to charge more than ten cents per bag for any recyclable bag or other container.
Those found to be in violation of the ordinance face a fine of $100 for a first offense and the amount goes up for further offenses.
AroundAmbler.com spoke with two restaurant owners outside of the Ambler area to ask their opinion on the ordinance. Both acknowledged that it would be more expensive for the restaurant to operate, but felt it was something they could manage and is the future.
However, they both strongly disagreed with the ordinance limiting what they could charge for a product they offered (referring to the “no more than 10 cents per bag for any recyclable bag or other container” language in the text of the ordinance).
A restaurant owner in Ambler we spoke with questioned the timing of the hearing. December 21st is the week of Christmas and a very busy time in the restaurant industry. This could limit the ability of those in the industry from attending and offering input on the ordinance.
This owner was also concerned about the rising cost of paper products that have occurred during the pandemic and thus far this restaurant has absorbed without raising prices. Further limitations on what can be used could force the cost of dining to rise in Ambler.
The hearing will take place on Tuesday, December 21st at 7:00 p.m. and will be held at the borough hall building.