The City of Coral Gables is an eco-conscious community and wants to lead by example by prohibiting the use of single-use plastic drinking straws and stirrers in City facilities and parks, by City vendors or contractors, and at events on City property requiring a permit. In partnership with the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce, the City of Coral Gables is also encouraging local businesses to “Skip the Straw.” When ordering a beverage and a straw is needed, the City recommends everyone to use other sustainable alternatives such as paper, bamboo or metal straws. A six month outreach campaign is in effect to inform City contractors and special event seekers to comply with this new ordinance. Discarded plastic straws and stirrers are not recyclable and can end up in landfills or the ocean, often causing a negative impact on marine wildlife.
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.
The preference is to ask customers if they need a straw when ordering a beverage instead of automatically providing one. If a customer does request a straw, then the goal is to replace the single use plastic straws and stirrers with non-plastic materials such as:
Reusable Straw/Stirrer: (example: metal) Best Option
Other similar sustainable materials.
Please note: Compostable and biodegradable petroleum or biologically based polymer stirrers and lid plugs (splash sticks) are not acceptable alternatives.
The requirements shall not restrict a city contractor or special event permittee 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.
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).
This prohibition shall not apply to pre-packaged drinks where plastic straws have been attached to or sealed with beverages prior to receipt.
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.
A violation of this section shall be deemed a default under the terms of the city contract, lease or concession agreement.
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)
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.
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.
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 provides incentives and recognizes businesses for their sustainable practices.
Items listed above are marine degradable and backyard compostable products available in the Miami-Dade County area. Please note that it is always best to first REUSE and REFILL than to switch to any disposable products.
Reusables calculator: this online tool calculates the estimated cost savings and environmental benefits that businesses will obtain by using reusable instead of disposable products. Savings estimates can be calculated for a variety of disposable products, including straws, cutlery, cups, plates, and bowls.
Reference in this site to any specific commercial product, process, or service, or the use of any trade, firm or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public, and does not constitute endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the City of Coral Gables.
For more information on the skip the straw program please call 305-460-5008.