Town of Palm Beach News

Plastic Straws May Soon Be Banned in Palm Beach

A town-wide ban of single-use plastic straws could soon become a reality in Palm Beach, as first reported by the Palm Beach Daily News.

Officials are being advised by town staff to act quickly, citing concern that the Florida Legislature may pass a law pre-empting municipalities from enacting laws banning or restricting the use of the straws.

In the past, the Legislature has adopted legislation preventing local governments from banning plastic bags and polystyrene contains. When that legislation passed, municipalities with laws already in effect, such as Miami Beach, were “grandfathered” in.

In a memo to the Town Council’s Ordinances, Rules and Standards Committee on March 31, Deputy Town Manager Jay Boodheshwar said staff hopes that by acting now, Palm Beach would be “grandfathered” if the Legislature blocks local governments from banning or restricting the use of the plastic straws, which are harmful to the costal environment.

Each day in the United States, about 500 million straws are used, most of them for under 20 minutes, Boodheshwar said. Plastics never fully degrade but break down into micro-plastics that are ingested by other animals.

Plastic Straws May Soon Be Banned in Palm Beach

“This information has not been lost on those concerned about our marine environment, including many of the town’s businesses that already have voluntarily replaced plastic straws with paper ones,” Boodheshwar wrote.

The Breakers stopped using plastic straws, plastic water bottles, and polystyrene in all its restaurants in 2017. Surfside Diner began offering paper straws instead of plastic ones last year. The Sailfish Club switched to paper straws a few years ago.

Related >>> Town of Palm Beach Votes to Ban Balloon Launches

On Feb. 5, Delray Beach approved a law prohibiting the distribution of single-use plastic straws at most of its businesses by next year.  Deerfield Beach, Hallandale Beach, Marco Island, Fort Myers Beach and Miami Beach have also passed laws to limit or prohibit use of the plastic straws.

Town Council Member Julie Araskog, who chairs the Ordinances, Rules and Standards Committee, said that if a ban is approved in Palm Beach, the town may phase it in to give businesses and consumers time to adjust. 

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Alanna Barrett

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