The greening of Irvine is under way and got another boost from the City Council at its July 25th meeting.
As the City moves forward with a reinvigorated effort to develop a Climate Action and Adaptation Plan, the Council:
- Created a City Sustainability Commission
- Directed the City staff to develop a Sustainable Mobility Plan
- Directed the City Attorney to draft an ordinance to ban single-use plastics in food service and other uses throughout the City
All three actions passed on 4-0 votes, with Councilmember Mike Carroll absent.
The Sustainability Commission will replace the 15-year-old Green Ribbon Environmental Committee. This is an upgrade since commissions have more access to staff resources than committees. Commissions also have more clout because individual commissioners generally have working relationships with the Councilmembers who appoint them.
The new commission’s marching orders are to advise and make recommendations to the City Council on policies and programs related to energy; recycling and waste management; mobility; open space; and water issues. The commission also will oversee the City’s Climate Action and Adaptation Plan — with an emphasis on public engagement.
The Sustainable Mobility Plan will outline ways to stimulate non-auto transportation in the City, such as creating a system of protected bike lanes to connect various parts of the City and, within villages, to connect parks, schools and retail centers. Other programs could include the creation of “mobility hubs” featuring ride-share and bike-share services, and ways to increase connectivity for walking, public transit and trails.
In requesting a City ban, Councilmember Kathleen Treseder pointed out that single-use plastics — such as disposable plastic straws, cutlery, and bags — create significant waste management and environmental problems, and there are compostable and reusable alternatives readily available. She noted that the state has already passed a law to eliminate single-use plastics in California by 2032, but several cities have passed local ordinances that accelerate that.
The Council also directed the City staff to develop a plan for engaging businesses and the public in the switch to compostable and reusable alternatives.
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