Correction: A previous version of the article incorrectly stated the cost of plastic for the city at $.5. The correct cost is $.05.
SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – A change is on the way for Savannah’s go-cup zone, and it could have a major environmental impact.
The city is proposing a switch from plastic to aluminum-based cups and is partnering with local businesses for a test run.
Several businesses have already partnered to help bring the idea of a pilot program to fruition, but the city is looking for more to launch the initiative on July 23.
“We want to get them in the hands of businesses to tell us, tell the city, and tell others what’s the best way to roll them out,” says District 4 Alderman Nick Palumbo.
The pilot program would put about 50,000 aluminum cups into circulation at businesses in Savannah’s to-go cup zone.
Made in Rome, Georgia, the cups are infinitely recyclable, according to Palumbo. He says that would help reduce the amount of litter picked up by city crews each year.
“In 2018, we collected 53 tons of litter from public right of ways in Savannah, and on track this year to top 400 tons of litter,” he said.
Businesses like the Gaslight Group, which owns and operates several local restaurants, have already been working with the city on how to incorporate aluminum cups, and how to offset their cost of $0.25 each compared to $0.05 for plastic.
“It’s something new, so we need to see what our guests are going to be comfortable with,” said Abbey Naspinski, general manager at Gaslight Group. “We’re thinking probably rolling it into the price of the beverage.”
Savannah City Council would have to vote to change the to-go zone ordinance to include aluminum cups and not just plastic. Alderman Palumbo says that process will likely take place over two meetings before the July 23 kick-off of the pilot program.
Each aluminum go-cup will feature a QR code. You scan it with your cell phone and take an online survey from the city asking whether you like the cups and if you’d be willing to pay a little more to use them.