TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Several bills filed in January hope to address how the Florida Legislature regulates plastic straws.
Senate Bill 502 seeks a statewide ban on plastic straws and single-use plastic bags.
Two other bills – Senate Bill 588 and House Bill 603 – hope to ban bans, which would prevent cities from taking up measures like regulating plastic straws. Both measures would authorize food service establishments to distribute single-use plastic straws to customers upon request.
Several Senate and House committees are scheduled to review the three pieces of legislation.
The proposals come after the St. Petersburg City Council approved a ban of single-use plastic straws by city food service establishments starting in 2020.
In 2019, St. Petersburg restaurants are only able to provide plastic straws to customers upon request.
St. Petersburg is also considering the establishment of a fee for single-use shopping bags.
In January, the Largo City Commission also approved a ban on single-use plastics on city property.
A state law on straws or single-use plastics could trump city ordinances.
However, cities could encourage restaurants and businesses to voluntarily do away with plastic straws, much like the “No Straws St. Pete” campaign. Several St. Petersburg restaurants either reduced or stopped providing customers with plastic straws months before the city council's decision to ban them.
Other Florida cities with at least some form of regulations on single-use plastics include Fort Myers Beach, Coral Gables and Fort Lauderdale.
One of the big reasons for the push of plastic-straw bans is due to waterway pollution. Sometimes, plastic straws are found in the digestive systems of fish and marine life. Straws also take thousands of years to break down.
Many people have seen the video online of a straw pulled from the nose of a sea turtle.
10News reported in March 2018, the reason restaurants might not support a plastic straw ban is because 100 plastic straws cost about $0.98 at retail price. However, 100 environmentally-friendly paper straws cost about $8.23.
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