Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Bye-Bye Plastic Straws!

Submitted Photo

A single-use plastic straw that you might use for 10 minutes will be on this planet forever. It takes 200 years to break down into tiny toxic particles. Plastic straws are not recycled, and too many end up in our waterways and inside birds, turtles, dolphins, etc.

The United States tosses 500 million plastic drinking straws every day. I am pleased to report that Marco Island beachfront businesses will no longer be contributing to this problem!

On March 5, Marco Island City Council unanimously passed an amendment to the waterways and beaches ordinance which states, “No business, restaurant… shall use, serve, or distribute plastic drinking straws.”

Banning single-use plastic straws and requiring beach vendors to pick up after their customers is all about protecting our precious wildlife. As most know, banning plastic straws is not a new concept. Most National Parks do not offer straws. The beach cafes at Tigertail Beach and Residents’ Beach do not offer any straws. A straw is not needed to sip a drink from a cup.

The JW Marriott and Sunset Grill have voluntarily been serving plant-based straws at their beachfront locations. The cost difference between a petroleum based straw and a plant based straw is one-one hundredth of a cent.

Most of us moved here because of the wildlife that surrounds us. The wildlife and environment of our little island deserve the best care we can give. The plastic straw ban is a good first step in protecting turtles, fish and birds. It is past time to protect that wildlife. Let’s make Marco Island a shining example of what a community can do together in protection of its wildlife. Let’s not be like everyone else. Let’s fix this now.

The City Beach and Coastal Resources Advisory Committee challenges residents and visitors to Marco Island to skip the straw island wide. Don’t play a part in the 500 million straws that are heading to the landfill on a daily basis. Ask yourself, “Do I really need a straw to sip this drink?”

If you own or manage an inland restaurant or business and would like to join the “Skip the Straw” movement or offer biodegradable straws, please call me at 239-642-7778 for more information.

You may already know that the Beach and Coastal Resources Advisory Committee, along with the Marco Island Chamber of Commerce, Marco Island Civic Association (MICA), and a local group or business hosts monthly beach cleanups. Please join us on May 5th at 8 AM at South Beach for a beach cleanup sponsored by the Marco Island Area Association of Realtors. I invite everyone to come out to help clear our beach of man-made materials.

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