Here in sub-tropical Florida, there’s never a bad time for a cool drink–perhaps colorful, perhaps boozy. (The adage “It’s five o’clock somewhere” could actually be the state motto.) But do we really need an environmentally hazardous, non-biodegradable piece of plastic to deliver said cool drink to our mouth-holes? Ten municipalities throughout the state have already said, no, we DO NOT, banning bars and restaurants from accessorizing your drink with unnecessary plastic delivery systems.
Straw pollution has presents a large and ever-growing problem for coastal communities. According to National Geographic, in just the U.S. alone, one estimate suggests 500 million straws are used every single day, with an estimated 8.3 billion plastic straws polluting the world’s beaches. In total, an estimated eight million tons of plastic flow into the ocean every year, and straws comprise just 0.025 percent of that.
Yet, a new bill just passed by the Florida Senate seeks to make any current ban null and void and prevent future ones.
From the South Florida Sun-Sentinal :
The House passed the bill (HB 771) last week, meaning it is now ready to head to Gov. Ron DeSantis. If he signs the bill (HB 771), local governments would not be able to enforce any ordinance banning plastic straws until July 2024.
Meanwhile, coastal-focused nonprofits, like The Surfrider Foundation, have been working tirelessly to promote plastic straw bans in ocean-adjacent communities across the country. If you’re one who enjoys consuming a beverage in a pristine tropical environment untainted by harmful plastic pollution, you can check out Surfrider’s handy-dandy Plastic Straws Suck, a toolkit for promoting plastic straw bans, here.
Unfortunately, if this bill receives a signature, the challenge will only be made more difficult–but not impossible.