The City will be distributing metal straws and tabletop information—first come, first served—to businesses
WEST PALM BEACH, FLA. (March 15, 2019) –
West Palm Beach restaurant-goers may soon see their beverages without a plastic straw in them or they may be given an alternative, such as a paper straw or marine biodegradable straw. On March 11, 2019, the West Palm Beach City Commission unanimously approved an ordinance banning the distribution, sale, and use of plastic straws and plastic stirrers in the City.
The City’s Office of Sustainability has since launched an education and information campaign-- which includes special workshops and merchants’ meetings-- to raise awareness of the ordinance among business owners in the City and to introduce the public to alternatives, such as straws and stirrers made of paper, plant, vegetable and other natural products. The ordinance will go into effect on October 1, 2019.
“Through efforts such as this, we are working to enhance the viability of West Palm Beach as a modern model of healthy, environmentally progressive, ecologically sustainable and resilient urban living,” said Penni Redford, City of West Palm Beach Manager of Resiliency and Climate Change. “Through the plastic straws/stirrers ban, we are mitigating the threat posed by plastic straws and stirrers to our environment and, ultimately reducing litter in City streets, parks, public places and waterfront areas.”
The City’s Sustainability team is encouraging businesses to:
- Begin phasing out their current plastic straw and stirrer stock;
- Offer straws only upon request;
- Begin the conversation of alternatives, which may include metal or marine biodegradable straws, with their supplier.
The City will be distributing metal straws and tabletop information—first come, first served—to businesses. Businesses will be encouraged to give out the metal straws to customers with the idea that the customer will return to their establishment with the metal straw and without asking for a straw. One of the benefits to businesses: reduced business costs by not having to supply a straw.
“We want the implementation of the ban to go smoothly for our valued West Palm Beach businesses, so we are encouraging them to use the stock that they already have while preparing for the ban over the next six months,” said Elaine Christian, Sustainability Program Coordinator. “The ban has received a lot of support from the community, and we look forward to seeing its environmental benefits in our City in the years ahead.”
The prohibition does not include pre-packaged drinks or food sold at commercial establishments and does not apply to medical or dental facilities, individuals with a disability or other impairment requiring the use of a plastic straw or plastic stirrer, the School District or county, state, or federal government entities, or any city contract, lease, or concession agreement entered into prior to July 1, 2019.
Written citations will be issued ($125) per occurrence to the business/restaurant that does not abide by the ordinance once it goes into effect on October 1, 2019.
For more information, contact the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability at (561) 804-4984.