Emailing Elected Officials

You can find your city and county commissioners through a simple Google search. It’s usually better to call the office of your elected official. You can use this sample email as a script to ask your local (city/county) elected officials to move away from plastics and foam. You may choose to email and then follow up with a phone call if you don’t get a response. Think about requesting a Zoom meeting with your mayor or city council member and other residents who are concerned about this issue. Make sure you have clear “ask” when you meet with your elected official.

Example:

Good afternoon ___,

My name is ___ and I am a ___ [student at ___, resident of ____, constituent in your district]. I’m very concerned about the plastic pollution crisis. I’m wondering if we can set up an appointment to talk, or a Zoom meeting to discuss this issue. I’d love to see the city take action to reduce single-use plastics and/or expanded polystyrene foam food containers and cups. Even with our state preemptions, there are still ordinances that we can pass. Many municipalities in Florida have already done so.

Please let me know if you’d be available by video call, and if not, by phone meeting.

You can find out more about plastics and their effects on our oceans, our marine life, and our health here: https://usa.oceana.org/our-campaigns/plastic/learn-more

Thank you for your attention to this important issue.

Sincerely,

[Your name here]

Materials and data you may need to influence your local elected officials:

  1. Fact sheets and presentation presenting the problem and solution
  2. Testimonials from business owners, stating their support
  3. Examples of ordinances from other Florida cities/counties
  4. Florida’s plastics preemption language
  5. Guide for examples of plastic free alternatives
  6. More talking points.

Make sure you have a clear “ask” when you meet with your elected official. Examples: “I would like to see the town of Sunnyville pass a prohibition on single use foam food containers and cups on city property.” “I would like Sunnyville to pass a straws by request only ordinance.” “I would like for Sunnyville to be the first city in Florida to pass a ban on single-use plastic utensils.”

Expanded polystyrene foam debris in the mangroves along Dania Beach.

Many cities, states, and entire nations have passed legislation to eliminate certain single-use plastics. Most elected officials feel more comfortable passing legislation when they see that other municipalities in Florida have already done so. To date, 27 municipalities in Florida have passed plastic straw laws, and at least 25 municipalities in Florida have passed other types of single-use plastic/polystyrene foam ordinances. Cities and counties are passing single-use plastic ordinances restricting plastic and foam in city facilities, events, contracts, meetings, parks, beaches, and pavilion rentals. Ordinances can be enacted with a long period of education before an enforcement date.

These local actions bring forth awareness about the seriousness of the plastic pollution crisis, and also send a message to Tallahassee that residents of Florida care about this issue.

Are your local elected officials not responding to your emails and calls? Go here for more help with your campaign.