Skip The Straw

Coral Gables Prohibition on Plastic Straws and Stirrers

Discarded single-use plastic beverage straws and stirrers are not readily recyclable and can end up in landfills, threaten wildlife and marine life and degrade and litter beaches and waterways. As a result, the City of Coral Gables has prohibited the use of single-use plastic beverage straws and stirrers in City facilities/parks, by city contractors/vendors and by special event permittees. The goal is to replace the single use plastic straws and stirrers with non-plastic materials, such as paper, sugar cane, bamboo, metal, or other similar sustainable materials.

What is a Single Use Plastic Straw and Stirrer?

  • Single-use plastic beverage straw means a tube, intended for only one-time use that is made predominantly of plastic derived from either petroleum or a biologically based polymer, including polymers derived from corn or other plant sources, for transferring a beverage from its container to the mouth of the drinker. Single-use plastic beverage straw includes compostable and biodegradable petroleum or biologically based polymer straws, but does not include straws that are made from non-plastic materials, such as paper, sugar cane, bamboo, or other similar materials.
  • Single use plastic stirrer  means a device that is used to mix beverages, intended for only one-time use, and made predominantly of plastic derived from either petroleum or a biologically based polymer, including polymers derived from corn or other plant sources. Single-use plastic stirrer includes compostable and biodegradable petroleum or biologically based polymer stirrers and lid plugs (splash sticks), but does not include stirrers that are made from non-plastic materials, such as paper, sugar cane, bamboo, or other similar materials.

Who does this Ordinance Affect and By When?

  • City Contractor means a contractor, vendor, concessionaire of the city, or operator of a city facility or property.
  • City Facility includes, but is not limited to, any building, structure, park, or golf course owned, operated or managed by the city.
  • Special Event Permittee means any person or entity, and their subcontractor, issued a special events permit by the city for a special event on city property, in a city facility or in the city's right-of-way.
  • This Ordinance becomes effective on July 9th, 2019 six months upon passage (January 8, 2019), following an extensive education campaign by the City for potential City Contractors and Special-Event Permittees.

Acceptable Alternatives:

The goal is to replace the single use plastic straws and stirrers with non-plastic materials such as:

  • Paper
  • Sugar cane
  • Bamboo
  • Metal
  • Other similar sustainable materials.

Please note: Compostable and biodegradable petroleum or biologically based polymer stirrers and lid plugs (splash sticks) are not acceptable alternatives.

Exceptions:

  1. The requirements shall not restrict a city contractor from providing a beverage with, or offering the use of, a single-use plastic beverage straw or single-use plastic stirrer upon request by or for an individual with a disability or medical condition that necessitates the use of a single-use plastic beverage straw or single use plastic stirrer. Such request does not require disclosure of the individual’s disability
  2. This prohibition shall not apply to single-use plastic beverage straws or single-use plastic stirrers used, provided, or given out by individuals who are special events permittees for the purpose of hosting a small private event (100 people or less) (e.g. birthday party, family reunion).
  3. This prohibition shall not apply to pre-packaged drinks where plastic straws have been attached to or sealed with beverages prior to receipt.

Penalties (Contractors)

  1. City contractors shall not sell or use single-use plastic beverage straws or single-use plastic stirrers within the city or in completing their duties to the city under contract.
  2. A violation of this section shall be deemed a default under the terms of the city contract, lease or concession agreement.
  3. Any city contract, or concession agreement entered into prior to the effective date of this section shall not be subject to the requirements of this section, unless the city contractor voluntarily agrees thereto. This section shall not apply to contract extensions where the contractor has the option. If the city has the option of extension, however, the city manager may consider whether the contractor complies or is willing to comply with subsection (b) (l) of this section in determining whether to extend the contract.

Penalties (Special Event Permittees)

  1. Special event permittees and their subcontractors shall not sell, use, or provide a beverage with a single-use plastic beverage straws or single-use plastic stirrers in city facilities.
  2. Upon warning, the special event permittee must stop use of single-use plastic beverage straws or single-use plastic stirrers or replace them with a non-single-use plastic alternative as soon as practicable. If the special events permittee does not do so within a reasonable amount of time, he/she may be forced to discontinue the service, sale or participation in the event.
  3. A violation of this section shall constitute a City code violation and may result in the revocation of the special events permit and fines and may be grounds for the placement of conditions on or for denial of a future special events permit.

What about Businesses?

The City in partnership with the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce, is educating the business community on sustainable alternatives through a “Skip the Straw” campaign and through the launch of Coral Gables Green Business Program which incentivizes and recognizes businesses for their sustainable practices.

For more information please call 305-460-5008.