Monday, May 20, 2019

Governor DeSantis’ Veto Saves Marco’s Ban on Plastic Straws


Generally called “preempting” local control, HB 771 is a measure that would have prevented municipalities from imposing bans, including a ban on the use of single use plastic straws. On May 2nd, the Florida Senate passed an environmental bill in a 24-15 vote that prohibited local governments to “enforce any ordinance banning plastic straws until July 2024,” The bill, HB 771, was headed to Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Late Friday, May 10th, Governor DeSantis delivered his first veto rejecting a bill that would have prevented local municipalities from banning plastic straws.

He sided with environmental groups and local municipalities that already have existing bans on plastic straws. About 10 municipalities already have some form of a ban on the use of single use plastic straws, including Sanibel, Marco Island, Fort Myers Beach and Miami Beach. These bans could mean eliminating billions of single-use plastic straws per year.

“Skip the Straw” is a campaign from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) encouraging Florida residents and visitors to reduce their plastic use.

Photos by Maria Lamb

The ban on single-use plastic drinking straws was long overdue for the beaches of Marco Island. It was first introduced to Marco Island’s Planning Board in September 2012 by then Environmental Specialist, Nancy Richie.

In 2016, the Beach and Coastal Resources Advisory Committee (BACR) revived the issue and worked hard to get the ban on plastic straws on the City Council’s agenda. On March 5, 2018, City Council unanimously voted to “prohibit the use of plastic straws by those businesses located directly adjacent to the City beaches.”

Marco’s BACR is committed to protecting the quality of its waters and the marine animals that live in them. They work very closely with businesses such as the JW Marriott on environmental issues and on the ban of plastic straws. JW Marriott’s Marcus Borman, Resident Manager, has been very supportive of the ban.

Amanda Cox, JW Marriott’s Director of Sales and Marketing, is very proud of the JW’s “Paradise, Preserved” initiative where the resort is committed to “preserving paradise – one sip at a time – by completely eliminating plastic straws throughout the resort and replacing them with Aardvark paper straws, which are made in the USA and are 100% compostable and marine degradable.”

According to Cox, the JW Marriott’s Marco location used 60,000 straws per month prior to the ban. That’s a whopping 720,000 straws per year! Marriott Hotels, along with Starbucks, Hilton Hotels and Hyatt Hotels have banned plastic straws worldwide.

According to the National Park Service, Americans use 500 million plastic straws daily. Join the pledge to eliminate plastic straws.

  • When dining out, simply ask for NO STRAWS or stirrers with drink.
  • For restaurants, serve only plant-based straws or reserve plastic for those who need them.
  • For restaurants to voluntarily eliminate the serving of plastic straws.
  • For restaurants to include a note on their menus, “Straws served only upon request.”

Let’s all pledge to “Preserve our Paradise, one sip at a time.”

Governor DeSantis, Lieutenant Governor Jeannette Nunez, Senate President Bill Galvano, Speaker of the House, Jose Olivia at the end of the legislative session.  On May 10th Governor DeSantis vetoed HB 771 that would have prevented local municipalities from banning plastic straws, and sided with environmental groups and municipalities that already have existing ban on single use plastic straws. About 10 municipalities have some form of ban on the use of single use plastic straws including Marco Island, Sanibel, Fort Myers Beach and Miami Beach. These bans could mean eliminating billions of single use plastic straws per year.

 

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