June 14, 2018-
Next month, St. Pete City Council will consider an ordinance to comprehensively look at how the city deals with all kinds of disposable plastics: from straws, to bags and polystyrene containers. In a committee today the focus was entirely on plastic straws: should there be a ban – as requested by environmentalists – or a voluntary reduction program, favored by business groups? On Thursday city council decided to take the ban off the table, for now at least. But there was talk about considering a complete ban in the future.
Council member Darden Rice said one reason to consider an outright ban is because of the Florida Legislature’s history of passing pre-emptive laws to forbid local governments from making local rules that are stricter than state rules. Council member Steve Kornell referenced a successful business-led voluntary program to cut down on nitrogen pollution and also criticized the Florida Legislature’s preemption history. The leader of the St. Pete Chamber of Commerce’s sustainability committee said the Chamber opposes a plastic straw ban and instead prefers a voluntary reduction and education program.