When speaking with your mayor, city/county commissioners, or city attorney about a plastic/foam ordinance, it would be helpful to share these examples of ordinances with them so that it takes less staff time to draft their own ordinance.
Examples of Florida Ordinances:
You can share these ordinances with your mayor, commissioner, and/or city/county attorney. This can help them craft their ordinance language.
Local Action by City/County Staff
Your City/County staff, together with your elected officials, can also enact an administrative policy regarding purchasing, events, vendors, concessionaires, and special permits. For example, prohibiting EPS foam food containers/products on City property.
No municipalities in Florida have completely banned plastic utensils…yet. But they can! There is no preemption on plastic utensils. Your city/county can completely ban single-use plastic forks/knives/spoons, which would mean that your stores and restaurants could not distribute or sell them. You could also choose to pass an ordinance which would require a fee on them.
Although reusable utensils are better, wooden disposable utensils do exist.
You can also pass an “opt-in” or “by request only” law for delivery/take out utensils. This would mean that a customer would have to specifically opt-in or request plastic utensils instead of automatically receiving them with every food order. Everyone wins with this law. This saves businesses money while also reducing plastic waste. Many delivery and take-out orders are eaten in the home, where customers already have utensils.
The City of Gainesville passed a Skip the Stuff/By Request Only ordinance. “Prepared food providers shall not provide single-use plastic food accessories (such as plastic utensils, condiment packets, portion cups) for dine-in, take-out or delivery, unless the single-use food accessory is specifically requested by the customer or is provided at a customer self-serve station.” This “By Request Only” plastics ordinance was passed June 2, 2022 and will go into effect September 2, 2022. This ordinance reduces plastic and also saves restaurants money because they do not purchase as many unnecessary accessories.
Here’s an example from Maryland that requires customers to opt-in for accessories such as utensils, straws, condiments, etc: https://apps.howardcountymd.gov/olis/LegislationDetail.aspx?LegislationID=12666
Expanded polystyrene foam ordinance on city property (model Florida ordinance):
Entire states are banning single-use polystyrene foam. So far, 8 states have banned polystyrene foam takeout containers because of the harm to human health and the environment. You can send this model expanded polystyrene foam ordinance (city property) to your mayor, commissioner, and city/county attorney. Florida municipalities are currently allowed to pass this ordinance, even with our state preemptions. Click here for a model foam ordinance to send to your city attorney for consideration:
There are readily available non-plastic alternatives to straws, so straws are easy to reduce. Straws are also not preempted by the state of Florida (unlike plastic bags). In the Ocean Conservancy’s 2018 International Coastal Cleanup alone, volunteers collected 3.6 million straws and stirrers from beaches. They were the third most commonly collected items. Straws are unfortunately not recyclable due to their size.
Please keep in mind people with disabilities when crafting your straw ordinance:
- Businesses could still provide plastic straws to those who need them. To avoid regular invasions of privacy, they could simply be available upon request.
- Some governments implementing bans have included disability exemptions in their legislation, and made sure business owners were aware of these exemptions.
- Straw bans typically require businesses to maintain a supply of plastic straws to be available by the request of those who need them. No proof of disability should be required.
- Understand that some single use and reusable options which are currently available do not work for all people with disabilities.
Special Event Permits and Pavilion Rentals:
Your municipality can prohibit specific single-use plastics/foam in special event permits.
Hollywood’s Special Events Permit Application has this language:
“The City’s plastic and Styrofoam ordinance passed in 2020, §97.08-97.12, prohibits the use of polystyrene (“Styrofoam”), single-use plastic and bioplastic food service products. This includes eating and serving utensils, tableware, containers, lids, plates, bowls, cups, straws, wrappings, bottles, bags or other packaging and all similar articles used for transporting or consuming prepared food or beverages • Reusable, compostable, or biodegradable materials may be used as alternatives such as paper, bamboo, and other plant-based fiber items • A responsible products catalogue can be provided to assist in your sourcing of these items.”
See Hollywood’s Special Event Permit Application here.
You could also include this in your city’s pavilion rental applications/contracts.
What has the city of Hollywood passed to reduce single use plastics?
Hollywood has a unique ordinance that was grandfathered in before the preemptions. Nonbiodegradable containers, like plastics and expanded polystyrene foam (EPS), for serving food products, are banned east of the Intracoastal Waterway. Cups, lids, straws, plates, bowls, utensils, sandwich containers, or other packaging, which are made of plastic, polystyrene plastic, or of any nonbiodegradable material are banned. According to Chapter 97.05 of the City of Hollywood Code of Ordinances, any establishment located east of the Intracoastal Waterway selling food intended for consumption by customers off the premises of their business, is included. Businesses may use any compostable materials or paper. Businesses may also access the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI), which is an online catalog of key individuals and groups from government, industry and academia, which promotes the use and recycling of biodegradable polymeric materials (via composting).
Also, in the Hollywood Beach Area, all tableware must be non-disposable and composed of materials that are sturdy and substantial to ensure that the tableware remains on the table in spite of wind that customarily occurs in South Florida. In addition, cloth napkins shall be used on all tables. (124.07)
Hollywood residents help by reporting violations to code enforcement.
Hollywood recently took another step to reduce plastic on city property and in city events/contracts. Read more here.
Examples of how cities promote their plastic free initiatives:
Florida already has a law banning people from releasing 10 or more balloons into the air within 24 hours.
The penalty for intentionally releasing a balloon can be between $250 and $1,000 for each offense.
You can ask your city/county to pass an ordinance banning all intentional balloon releases.
Municipalities in Florida With Plastic/Foam Ordinances
Cities in FL with plastic straw ordinances:
- Ft Lauderdale
- Miami Beach
- Hallandale Beach
- Dania Beach
- Lauderdale by the Sea
- Pompano Beach
- Deerfield Beach
- Fort Myers Beach
- Delray Beach
- Wilton Manors
- West Palm Beach
- Ormond Beach
- Key West
- St Pete
- Palmetto Bay
- Sunny Isles
- Marco Island
- Key Biscayne
- Oakland Park
- Palm Beach
- Alachua County
- Broward County
Cities in FL with other types of plastic/foam ordinances/policies which also may include straws and/or foam and/or utensils etc:
- Hollywood (no plastic or foam east of intracoastal), Hollywood also passed single use plastics and foam on city property/events/contracts ordinance in 2020.
- Deerfield Beach
- Miami Beach
- Bal Harbour
- North Bay Village
- St Pete
- Miami Dade County Parks and Beaches (polystyrene foam)
- Key Biscayne beaches and parks (polystyrene foam)
- Bay Harbour Islands
- Village of Miami Shores- plastic water bottles city property
- Orange County, Florida. No EPS foam in any new county contracts, including convention center.
- Dania Beach (foam ordinance city property passed July 2020)
- Tampa (city resolution banning foam passed Sept 2020)
- Fort Lauderdale (foam ordinance on city property)
- Palm Beach Gardens (polystyrene resolution city property and contracts) Jan 2021
- Sunny Isles Beach
- Boynton Beach (polystyrene foam, balloons, confetti on city property)
- Winter Park
- Tallahassee (single-use plastic foodware/drinkware on city property/city events)
- Boca Raton (polystyrene foam ordinance- city vendors/events, balloons, and confetti)
- Seminole County (single-use plastics county property- staff/vendors)
- Palm Beach Gardens (balloons, confetti, glitter, city property/contracts)
- Atlantic Beach (polystyrene foam, city property/beach)
- Gainesville (The City of Gainesville passed a Skip the Stuff/By Request Only ordinance. Prepared food providers shall not provide single-use plastic food accessories (such as plastic utensils, condiment packets, portion cups) for dine-in, take-out or delivery, unless the single-use food accessory is specifically requested by the customer or is provided at a customer self-serve station. This “By Request Only” plastics ordinance was passed June 2, 2022 and will go into effect September 2, 2022.) This ordinance reduces plastic and also saves restaurants money because they do not purchase as many unnecessary accessories. Ordinance also includes ban on polystyrene foam on city property, glitter, and balloon releases.
- Broward County (Resolution- Admin. Code expanded polystyrene (foam) items, and single-use plastic straws and stirrers on County properties, sky lanterns, confetti)
- Plantation (EPS foam on city property/vendors, and ban on intentional balloon releases)
Examples of Reuse Acceleration Policies
Would you like to advocate for a reuse policy? For example, having to “opt-in” for accessories when ordering take-out and delivery? Requiring reusables for on-site dining?
View and download sample model reuse policies from UPSTREAM here.
You can also suggest this to your state legislators and ask for a statewide “opt in” or “by request only” law.
Bonus: California restaurants that have already switched to by-request utensils have saved between $3,000 and $21,000 per year.