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Proposed Plastic Ban Approved For City-Owned Property In Sarasota

A man and woman picking up trash
Jason Bartolone
The measure would ban single-use plastic products in city buildings, events, sidewalks and on properties in which private entities lease space from the city.

City of Sarasota commissioners have voted in favor of an ordinance to ban Styrofoam and limit single-use plastic straws on city-owned property.

Plastic straws would still be available for people who specifically request them and the policy does not apply to private businesses. 

The ordinance will go into effect for cafés on city-owned sidewalks on January 1, 2020; for special events in August 2020; and for those businesses with city lease agreements whenever the lease is renewed.

The move comes after months of debate and recommendations from Sarasota's Office of Sustainability.  

According to data from "Keep Sarasota County Beautiful," more than 6,500 hundred plastic straws and 1,500 polystyrene containers were found on local beaches from 2013-2017.  

Several cities across the state--including St. Petersburg--have enacted similar policies hoping to reduce waste they argue pollutes the ocean and harms sea life.   

Additionally, some municipalities have enacted stricter bans on plastics. In 2016, the city of Coral Gables passed an ordinance prohibiting retailers from giving out plastic bags, plastic straws or Styrofoam takeout containers. 

An appeals court last Wednesday sided with the Florida Retail Federation and rejected that move, overturning a ruling in the city’s favor by a Miami-Dade County Circuit Judge.   

As a reporter, my goal is to tell a story that moves you in some way. To me, the best way to do that begins with listening. Talking to people about their lives and the issues they care about is my favorite part of the job.
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