ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The St. Petersburg City Council has approved a ban of single-use plastic straws by food service establishments.
The ban will take effect on Jan. 1, 2020. Starting in 2019, St. Petersburg restaurants will only be able to provide plastic straws to customers upon request.
The vote was 6-1, with only Councilman Ed Montanari voting no.
The decision came after a motion to remove the plastic straw ban from the ordinance fell short.
Between Jan. 1 and April 1, 2019, there would be no penalties. After April 1 through Dec. 31, there would be written warnings for violations.
Council members said they will reach out to businesses to educate them about the new rules.
The council also voted to re-evaluate the ordinance and the education effort 10 months after it begins.
Several St. Petersburg restaurants and businesses have already voluntarily done away with plastic straws as part of the citywide campaign entitled “No Straws St. Pete.” Others provide plastic straws only at the request of patrons.
Sister station KING 5 reported Seattle’s ban on plastic straws and utensils went into effect in July. Fort Myers Beach embraced a similar plastic straw ban in April.
The big reason for the ban on plastic straws is they are polluting waterways. They are often found in the digestive systems of fish and marine life. Plastic straws also take thousands of years to decompose.
A few years ago, a voluntary ban on plastic straws went into effect in the city of Treasure Island. It started after a young boy found dozens of straws littering the beach.
Treasure Island city commissioners stopped short of passing an ordinance, partly because it could have a negative effect on businesses, mainly restaurants.
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