St Petersburg bans plastic straws and styrofoam

We are proud that our home town St Pete joins the list of cities to legally ban plastic straws and styrofoam.

Many restaurants already participated in a voluntary campaign to hand out straws only on request (No Straw St Pete).

No Straw St Pete

After many months of discussion the city council voted last night to legally ban styrofoam (polystyrene) beginning January 1 of 2019 and plastic straws by 2020.

Regulations like this are currently being debated in many cities all over the US to make an effort to ban them together with plastic bags. Americans use 500 million plastic straws each day, which means that you’ll likely use over 35,000 of them in your lifetime. Straws are unrecyclable and either sit in landfills for centuries or pollute our environments and harm wildlife.

The Tampa Bay Times summarises the details of the law:

The ordinance will be rolled out in two phases: For the first year, from Jan. 1, 2019 to Dec. 31, 2019, St. Petersburg will be a straw-by-request-only city, meaning restaurants can only give plastic straws to customers who ask for them. After that first year, though, restaurants will be prohibited from offering plastic straws at all. That's the ban.

There are no penalties for violating the request-only portion of the ordinance for the first three months, so from Jan. 1 to March 31. Then, for the remainder of the first year, the city will issue warnings.

The real enforcement starts Jan. 1, 2020, when the ban kicks in. The first violation is a warning, the second will result in a $40 fine, and all subsequent violations within a year of the first violation will result in an $80 fine. [...]

The Styrofoam ban will work in a similar manner to the straws, except there's no by-request-only grace period. Instead, the ban kicks in right away on Jan. 1. Like straws, there wold be no penalties in the first year. After that, the $40 and $80 fines would come into play. [...]

The straw and polystyrene bans are the first two legs of a three-legged stool of sustainable regulation the city hopes to enact. The third is a plan to charge 5 cents for plastic and paper bags, like the ones shoppers get at Publix. The bag ordinance is still being workshopped in committee.

Plastic cutlery has not been part of the discussion so far. It is still a long way to a future without polluting plastic items, but efforts like this help move us to a more sustainable future and show that it can be done.

Read the full article here:

Organisations actively working towards less plastic pollution in the Tampa Bay area: