4

Miami-Dade Is Banning Styrofoam in Parks

^
Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Miami and help keep the future of New Times free.

Two years ago, Miami Beach banned Styrofoam from its city. Prohibiting the notoriously polluting material wasn't particularly controversial, with most local businesses telling reporters they didn't mind making the change to more compostable materials.

Well, Florida being Florida, the state Legislature found this simple eco-friendly move abhorrent. Earlier this year, Tallahassee forbade local governments from any new wide-scale Styrofoam bans

That doesn't mean local governments are without recourse, though. Last night, the Miami-Dade County Commission agreed to ban Styrofoam from all county parks beginning next summer. The ban at least protects some of Miami's tourist-friendliest areas from the hard-to-control refuse, supporters say.

"It's among the most common pollutants in the bay, and it's affecting our parks and also the animal life around our parks," Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava, the bill's sponsor, said during last night's discussion. "The point here is to educate the public, to reduce the polystyrene trash in our parks, and to protect our parks and beaches."

Levine Cava's rule won't take effect until July 2017, giving the Parks Department time to educate the public on the ban. After that, getting caught with Styrofoam in county parks will carry a $50 fine.

Although the measure passed with just one no vote, there were a number of concerns raised in the meeting. Several commissioners argued the ban would hurt poor residents most.   

"They don't have money to buy plastic cups and plates because they cost a lot. They have a limited budget," Commissioner Rebecca Sosa argued. " I would like citation instead for improper disposal."

Others argued that small businesses that sell Styrofoam coolers and cups would be negatively affected. And most memorable, Sosa complained that Miami needed Styrofoam to properly enjoy its Cuban coladas

“The only way we can drink the Cuban coffee, the colada, is with a Crystal cup or Styrofoam,” she argued. 

But Levine Cava pointed out that paper cups work equally well for Cuban coffee and aren't notably more expensive. And Miami Beach's ban hasn't noticeably hurt local businesses or beachgoing residents. 

Either way, thanks to Tally's meddling, the county's ban falls well short of Miami Beach's universal prohibition on the troublesome material. But supporters say the move will at least protect parks. 

"The Florida Legislature prevented us from having a more comprehensive plan," Levine Cava said. "We can only control it in our parks." 

Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.