ST. AUGUSTINE BEACH, Fla. – Lawmakers in Tallahassee passed a bill this week that would stop local governments from banning the use of plastic straws for the next five years. The bill is now headed to Governor Ron DeSantis.
This decision has disapointed some leaders, including St. Augustine Beach’s Mayor Undine George. The decision comes despite an ongoing use of plastic straws, grocery bags, utensils and other plastic products for decades, which are known to negatively impact the environment.
Next on @ActionNewsJax the Mayor of St.Augustine Beach is asking the community to stop the use of plastic and styrofoam. This comes after state legislatures prohibited the ban of plastic straws for the next five years. Watch at 5:30 to learn more. pic.twitter.com/hWH5jecGVQ
— Brittney Verner (@BrittneyVerner) May 1, 2019
“Everything we buy is wrapped in plastic. For them to say that they don’t want us to regulate something that’s so much more important than aesthetics. [This is] something that’s going to negatively impact our environment, [and] I was just very disappointed by that,” George said.
Many states have decided to ban the non-biodegradable products like straws and bags. George added that she too wanted to ban these products in St. Augustine Beach. However, thanks to House Bill 771 passing that mission has been put on hold.
As an alternative, she encouraged people at this week’s city commission meeting to personally adopt a resolution by stopping the use of plastic and Styrofoam.
There are already several businesses and neighbors in the community who have decided to begin this phase out, including Back 40.
Olivia Norris, a manager at one of the Back 40 locations, said her restaurant prides itself on eliminating these materials.
“Most of [our] products are byproducts of corn,” Norris said.
This way of thinking is something Mayor George hopes the entire city will eventually adopt.
“We need to just start educating people on the negative impacts that we’re causing to the environment for the future,” George said.
Although local leaders in St. Augustine Beach are not allowed to ban the use of plastic straws, they do believe there are alternative ways to minimize the use of these products. They plan to continue promoting this sustainability throughout the city.
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