Miami Beach says no to plastic straws citywide

Commissioners unanimously approve expanding plastic straw ban

Miami Beach is expanding its ordinance banning plastic straws and stirrers citywide.

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Miami Beach's plastic straw ban is extending from the ocean to the bay.

Miami Beach commissioners unanimously passed an ordinance Wednesday banning single-use plastic straws and stirrers citywide.

"Every move we make to strengthen our litter laws citywide significantly reduces the amount of litter and pollutants on land and in the water," Mayor Dan Gelber said. "Protecting both our natural environment and wildlife is a priority for our city and a cause we will never stop fighting for."

Plastic straws and bags are already prohibited on the beach, but this latest effort expands the ban to include the sale of all plastic straws by businesses throughout the city.

The ordinance will be enforced in phases before the full ban takes effect next July.

Elizabeth Wheaton, director of environment and sustainability for Miami Beach, said the city will spend the next three months trying to "educate our businesses and get the word out to our residents."

After that, the city's code enforcement would issue written notices to businesses in violation of the ordinance, she said.

Beginning July 1, any businesses providing plastic straws or stirrers to patrons will be fined $50 for the first offense, $100 for the second offense and $500 for any subsequent violations.

"We anticipate that our businesses will comply," Wheaton said.

Several other South Florida cities have implemented plastic straw bans in recent years.