Sunday, January 16, 2022

Skip the Straw

How you can help: Join the clean up at South Beach on August 19 at 9 AM. | Photos by Maria Lamb

The ban on single-use plastic drinking straws was long overdue for the beaches of Marco Island.

It was first introduced to Marco Island’s Planning Board in September 2012 by then-Environmental Specialist, Nancy Richie.

Submitted Photo | Amanda Cox, Director of Sales and Marketing at Marco’s JW Marriott, with paper straws made by Aardvark Straws customized with green sea turtles. The paper straws decompose in just 45-90 days.

In 2016, the Beach and Coastal Resources Advisory Committee (BACR) revived the issue and worked hard to get the ban on plastic straws on the City Council’s agenda. Councilor Victor Rios’ Position Paper to the City Council gave it a lifeline. On March 5, 2018, City Council unanimously voted to “Prohibit the use of plastic straws by those businesses located directly adjacent to the City beaches.”

Marco’s BACR is committed to protecting the quality of its waters and the marine animals that live in them. They work very closely with businesses such as the JW Marriott on environmental issues and on the ban of plastic straws. JW’s Marcus Borman, Resident Manager, and Nick Wagner, Director of Guest Experiences regularly attend the BACR’s monthly meetings and participate in the discussions of all coastal issues.

Amanda Cox, JW Marriott’s Director of Sales and Marketing, is very proud of JW’s “Paradise, Preserved” initiative where the resort is committed to “preserving paradise – one sip at a time – by completely eliminating plastic straws throughout the resort and replacing them with Aardvark paper straws, which are made in the USA and are 100% compostable and marine degradable.”

According to Cox, the JW Marriott’s Marco location used 60,000 straws per month prior to the ban. That’s a whopping 720,000 straws per year! Marriott Hotels has joined Starbucks, Hilton Hotels and Hyatt Hotels in a worldwide ban of plastic straws by 2019.

Marco Island has also joined other Florida coastal cities such as the City of Fort Myers Beach, St. Petersburg and Miami Beach on the ban of plastic straws. These bans could mean eliminating billions of single-use plastic straws per year.

“Skip the Straw” is a campaign from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) encouraging Florida residents and visitors to reduce their plastic use. According to the National Park Service, Americans use 500 million plastic straws daily. Single-use plastic straws have become the latest poster child of single-use plastic waste.

Join the pledge to eliminate plastic straws.

  •   When dining out, simply ask for NO STRAWS or stirrers with drink orders.
  •   For restaurants, serve only plant-based straws upon request or for those who need them.
  •   For restaurants to voluntarily eliminate the use of plastic straws.
  •   For restaurants to include a note on their menus, “Straws served only upon request.”

Let’s all pledge to “Preserve our paradise, one sip at a time.”

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