Trump campaign throws politics into plastic straw debate

Miami Beach among several Florida cities that have now banned plastic straws

MIAMI – A new bill recently filed by state Sen. Kevin Rader, D-Delray Beach, aims to ban the use of plastic straws and plastic bags statewide. This comes after Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoed a measure that would have prevented local communities from banning plastic straws.

As the fight ramps up in Florida, nationwide, President Donald Trump is weighing in. His campaign is now selling plastic Trump straws -- a move environmentalists are calling reckless and irresponsible.

In the worldwide effort to clean up oceans and recover from the nation's addiction to single-use plastics, the straw has become public enemy No. 1, injuring sea animals and poisoning fish.

In this country alone, it's estimated people use more than 500 million plastic straws a day that don't biodegrade. As a matter of fact, plastic straws are among the top five items collected on beach cleanups, and though scientists said straws only make up 4% of the world's plastic trash, it's waking people up to the fact they can't continue to consume plastics the way people have been.

Dr. Marcus Eriksen, of 5 Gyres, is on the front line helping the world recover from its plastic pollution hangover.

"Straws is the poster child, if you will," Eriksen said. "We don't need a straw."

Every year, the world sends 8 million tons of plastic into the oceans, but Eriksen sees change starting to happen.

"Cities, communities and consumers are waking up to the harm caused by single-use, throwaway plastics," Eriksen said.

Miami Beach is among several Florida cities that have now banned plastic straws. Major corporations -- such as McDonald's, Royal Caribbean and Starbucks -- have now committed to switching to paper straws.

But while the world is moving away from single-use plastics, the Trump campaign is now selling 9-inch-long plastic Trump straws on its website. A pack of 10 costs $15, and in the three weeks they've been out, the campaign said it's sold over a half-million dollars' worth.

Plastic straws just aren't recyclable.

Robert Stillman is CEO of FarFromBoring Hospitality, which launched rhino paper straws last September when his clients began asking him to create a durable paper straw that actually works.

"Our straws last for days, not just one drink," Stillman said. "They don't dissolve."

Stillman said people can't taste paper or cardboard in their straws and they're gluten-free.

Business is booming. His business is selling 70 to 80 millions paper straws a month, servicing 400 clients all over the world, including here in South Florida. Fort Lauderdale's Rocco's Tacos and Louie Bossi's on Las Olas Boulevard made the switch to paper straws months ago.

Stillman said he'd even make an eco-friendly one for the president.

"Maybe I'll send him some," Stillman said. "I think he'll like it."

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