Delray Beach Bans Plastic Straws Immediately

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Full ban starts January 1, 2020. For now, patrons must request plastic straws.

DELRAY BEACH, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) (Source: City of Delray Beach Official Release) — The City of Delray Beach received the green light to proceed with its plastic straw ban. The City Commission unanimously passed the ordinance restricting the distribution of plastic straws at all restaurant and beverage establishments at the February 5 Commission meeting. Delray Beach is the first city in Palm Beach County to enact this ban.

Effective February 6, 2019, food service establishments and bars will only be permitted to provide plastic straws to patrons that request them, although straws that are marine biodegradable, such as paper or bamboo straws, and reusable metal or glass straws are permissible. Effective January 1, 2020, all plastic straws will be prohibited. While, the mandate applies to all restaurant and beverage establishments city wide, exceptions have been made for patrons with medical needs and places such as hospitals, nursing facilities, schools and products pre-packaged with straws and produced outside the city.  After January 1, 2020, establishments could face a $100 fine for the first offensive in a 12-month period, $200 for a second offense in a 12-month period and up to $500 for the third offense in a 12-month period.

Last summer, the City of Delray Beach Office of Sustainability launched a “Skip the Straw” campaign involving the Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Development Authority to help engage with Delray Beach’s downtown bars and restaurants and bring awareness to the impacts of single-use plastic straws. To date, many local establishments have discontinued providing plastic straws and approximately 20 have already voluntarily switched to paper straws.

“Plastic straws, while a small component of the broad single-use plastic problem, are a significant detriment to marine life, including sea turtles, fish and birds, which ingest small plastic pieces and often die,” says Dr. Ana Puszkin-Chevlin, the City’s Sustainability Officer. “The Skip the Straw campaign and the supporting ordinance are a first step to raising awareness of the impact single-use plastic and taking actions to modify consumer behavior that adversely impacts the environment.”

The City plans to implement the ordinance in two phases, in order to provide a comfortable transition period. The city will be engaging in informational outreach to ensure bars and restaurants owners are informed on the ordinance and can plan appropriately to procure straws made of compliant alternative materials.
Delray Beach joins approximately 11 other cities nationwide, including neighboring Deerfield Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Hallandale Beach in tackling the use of plastic straws and other single-use plastic part of their environmental stewardship initiatives.  The campaign against plastic straws gained national momentum throughout 2018 as ocean advocacy groups brought attention to the 8 million tons of consumer plastic dumped into the oceans annually.