Surfside officials hope to make a dent in the massive problem of plastic by banning most single-use plastics.
That’s why the city voted to expand its ban and include plastic bags, utensils and tableware, Miami New Times reported.
It joins the vicinity of Bal Harbor, the city of Palo Alto in California and Canada to announce an offensive against single-use plastics. But the ordinance was not easily approved: several residents spoke against it, and the commissioners had a lively debate about whether it was too much, too soon.
“We try to find a balance of what is reasonable with what we can do to help our community move forward, help us evolve to raise awareness about how we live,” said Mayor Daniel Dietch, who supported the measure. “It’s a statement that this city can make, and it will have a cascading effect.”
Deputy Mayor Dan Gielchinsky said he was concerned that the city was sued, because Florida law prevents local municipalities from regulating plastic.
But in 2017, when the state and the Florida Retail Federation sued Coral Gables for its ban on plastic bags, a judge ruled that prevention laws were unconstitutional.
The state appealed, but no decision has been made; an analysis conducted by the lawyer of Surfside said that the validity of his ordinance could depend on the outcome of the Gables litigation.
Governor Ron DeSantis vetoed the bill, so cities like Fort Lauderdale, Coral Gables, Miami Beach and Hallandale Beach will be able to enforce their straw ordinances.
The ordinance will return to the commission for a second reading next month. If approved, it will apply as of March 2020 after a public education campaign and a warning period.