Hallandale Beach considers citywide ban on plastic straws

If proposal passes, people with plastic straws could be fined up to $500

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Hallandale Beach officials are considering a citywide ban on plastic straws.

That would mean no selling or distributing plastic straws at all within Hallandale Beach, including not using them on public beaches.

"Every time I'm on the beach, I find plastic in some way, shape or form," Commissioner Rich Dally said. "We're pre-empted by the state to prevent a lot of plastics from being sold or distributed, but we can start with plastic straws?"

At a meeting Wednesday, Dally will introduce legislation that would ban the sale and distribution of plastic straws in Hallandale Beach. It would also disallow the use of them on public beaches.

The move is similar to one in Hollywood that bans any restaurants east of the intracoastal from using them, and from one down in Miami Beach, where commissioners recently expanded their existing ban.

"It's important to me to make sure cities like Hallandale and across the country are taking into consideration the future. I want more cities to follow in these footsteps," Dally said. 

Because of how small and light they are, the plastic straws can easily end up sliding through sewer grates and making their way to the ocean. They could also end up in landfills, where experts said it could take hundreds of years for them to biodegrade.

Dally said he knows this will be a change in thought process for a lot of people, and said he wants to sit down with business owners before the rule's second reading.

Dally said there are too many options that are better for the environment than plastic, and he expects the proposed legislation to pass easily.

"Biodegradable paper straws, metal straws are available, sugar cane, as well as bamboo straws are available. Plus, you can also just go no straw. It's really not that hard to drink from a cup," Dally said. 

The first reading of the new proposal will be Wednesday night at the city commission meeting.

If it does eventually become law, people would get a warning on their first offense. After that, fines could go anywhere from $100 to $500.

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