Boca Raton, FL – The millions of plastic straws consumed in the United States each day is bad for marine life and a city advisory board is pushing for a ban on them at bars, cafes and food establishments in Delray Beach.
The Green Implementation Advancement Board unanimously passed a resolution asking City Commissioners to pass an ordinance that would limit the use of single-use plastic straws in restaurants. Proponents say it will vastly reduce the litter and other environmental impacts of the millions of plastic straws currently used each day in the United States.
“As a coastal community, the city of Delray Beach derives much of its economy from its beaches and waterways and therefore has the duty to be a responsible steward of the environment” according to a news release on the City’s website. “Discarded plastic straws are a litter nuisance problem that threatens wildlife and degrade the ecosystem.”
Plastic straws have become a heavily debated issue, with ban supporters saying the straws end up in landfills or threatening marine life in oceans instead of being recycled.
The move in Delray Beach has been in the offing for more than a year.
The Office of Sustainability partnered with the Sandoway Discovery Center to implement a Skip the Straw campaign, according to a news release.
In January 2019, City Commissioners passed an ordinance, which required restaurants and bars to serve drinks without straws or stirrers unless customers requested one.
Effective Jan. 1, only straws made of marine biodegradable products, such as paper or bamboo straws, or reusable straws made of metal or glass can be used in restaurants.
Violators will be fined $100 for the first offense, $200 for the second, and $500 for the third.
Delray Beach is the municipality first in Palm Beach County to pass this kind of ordinance.
Many businesses have already switched to paper straws.
“It’s hit or miss, people either love it or they totally hate it,” Andrea Roseland, bartender at The Office on Atlantic Avenue, told WPBF Ch 25. “It’s been pretty simple to switch, the only thing that’s difficult is with the bar, people are used to having a cocktail straw, but the distributor we use actually has cocktail straws that are paper.”
The state Legislature passed a similar bill last session that concerns regulating plastic straws and bags.
The bill, proposed by Sen. Kevin Rader (D-Delray Beach), would prohibit stores from providing customers with plastic carryout bags and single-use plastic straws. The bill includes penalties of $500 for a first-time violation and $1,000 for subsequent violations. Individuals that must use plastic straws because of medical purposes would be exempted from this legislation.
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Why it matters
Single-Use Plastic Straws
- Plastic straws are among the top 10 contributors to plastic marine debris across the globe.
- Nearly 7.5 million plastic straws were found on U.S. shorelines during a five-year cleanup research project.
- Most recycling machines aren’t capable of recycling straws, given their size.
- The rate of plastics production growth has increased 620% since 1975.
- Nearly half of the plastic produced is for single-use.
- Only 9% of plastics are recycled.
- Approximately 8.8 million tons of plastic pollution flows into the oceans each year, an amount expected to double by 2025.
- Plastics do not biodegrade and can last from 450 years to forever.
- Plastics can be found in every marine habitat on Earth, from polar ice to the deepest trenches of the ocean.
- By 2050, plastic trash will outweigh fish.
Plastics break down into smaller pieces of microplastic that makes its way into our ground water and our food supply