Wilton Manors has become the latest city in Broward Country to ban the sale and distribution of single use plastic straws.
City officials in September voted 4-1 to approve the ban.
Commissioner Gary Resnick opposed the ordinance, saying he was concerned about prohibiting all retail businesses from selling straws in the city. The new law goes into effect on Sept. 1, 2020 and includes a $100 fine for the first offense, a $200 fine for a second offense and a $500 fine for every subsequent violation.
“People who use plastic straws are going to have to buy them outside the city,” Resnick noted. “I can’t support the ordinance on that basis.”
The city’s ban also includes the sale of single-use plastic stirrers in the spirit of protecting the environment. According to the ordinance, 8.8 million tons of plastic pollution flows into the ocean each year, an amount that is expected to double by 2025.
Wilton Manors Vice Mayor Tom Green was pleased with the new law.
“I can’t help but say how pleased I am that we are finally doing something on this. We have beaten 11 of the cities in Broward County. I had hoped we would be No. 2 or No. 3 but we’re here,” Green said.
Exceptions include prepackaged drinks that come with plastic straws, straws used at medical or dental facilities, and at county, state, and federal properties, and at Broward County schools. Straws are permitted if needed by someone with a medical or physical condition. The ban also does not apply to those who receive special events permits to host events of 200 or few people.
City contracts or concession agreements that were entered into before the ordinance was approved are also not affected.
The city of Fort Lauderdale passed a ban on single-use plastic straws in January 2019 which goes into effect in January 2020. Like the Wilton Manors law, the Fort Lauderdale ban will also prohibit both the distribution and sale of plastic straws in the city.
And as of July 2019, businesses in Fort Lauderdale may only provide plastic straws upon request.
Other cities that have approved a ban on single-use plastic straws include Deerfield Beach, Pompano Beach, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Dania Beach, Hollywood, and Hallandale Beach.
Green said many of the businesses in Wilton Manors already comply with the new ordinance.
“I have gone around as a public servant to as many of the bars and restaurants to check what they are using and there are very few, so I don’t think it will really affect a lot of the businesses. I am so very happy about it,” Green said.