Delray Beach Supports ‘Skip The Straw’ Campaign, Ban On Plastic Straws Up For Consideration

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Staff report

If you order a drink at a Delray restaurant you may soon notice that you are missing a plastic straw.

In an effort to cut down the usage of single use plastics, the city commission will consider passing a local ordinance to help curb the use of plastic straws.

The local rule passed on first reading and will be up for public hearing and final approval this month.

The rule states: for the first 18 months after the ordinance goes into effect that food service establishments will only distribute plastic straws to patrons who request one.

After the 18 month transition period, businesses will be prohibited from distributing plastic straws to guests. Restaurants, eateries, juice bars and coffee shops will have to switch to products that are marine-biodegradable.

The reason for the move away from plastic straws is they are harmful to the environment. City staff explained that plastics never fully degrade and they break down into micro-plastics. They can’t be recycled and they are a threat to marine life and birds.

Delray won’t be the first city to help curb the use of straws. Nationally 11 cities ands 5 in including Deerfield Beach, Hallandale Beach and Miami Beach have adopted ordinances that either limit or prohibit the use of plastic straws.

And major corporations with a presence in the city like Marriott International, Hyatt and Starbucks have also joined the Skip the Straw movement.

More than a dozen restaurants are already partaking in the campaign. Caffe Luna Rosa is offering green straws. Others are only offering straws on request.

Once the full ordinance goes into action, straws will still be available for sale in supermarkets. Individuals will not be penalized for using plastic straws.

If a restaurant or business is caught by the city distributing plastic straws after the 18 month grace period, they will receive fines beginning at $100 and increasing to $500 on the third offense.

City staff estimate that the paper straws will cost slightly more than the plastic ones, 3 cents compared to 1 cent. But the market has shown a decrease in price for paper straws already as more cities and companies are switching.