By Mike S Payton, Contributing Reporter
MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA – The City of Miami Beach launched the #PlasticFreeMB education and certification program on November 13th to showcase and empower businesses that have taken the action to reduce single-use plastics within their establishment.
This is because nearly eight million metric tons of plastic debris ends up in the ocean each year, killing 100 million marine animals annually. Approximately half of the plastic produced is considered single-use and often thrown away minutes after being used.
“A fundamental part of the movement to become a plastic-free City begins and ends with our local businesses community,” said Mayor Dan Gelber.
Adding, “Integrating sustainability into your business model is no easy feat, and we’re excited to recognize those with the dedication to being environmentally conscious as we create an economic culture that values protecting our beautiful paradise.”
Designed with a cumulative three-level system, participating businesses can choose the most suitable level to their current plastic reduction practices when they take the voluntary pledge. The more single-use plastic items businesses move away from, the higher the level they can obtain.
Recognizing the first businesses to make the effort toward drying up plastic’s demand, the program officially kicked off at 2:30 PM during Wednesday’s November 14, 2018 Commission Meeting at City Hall.
From restaurants, retail stores, music venues, hotels and more, the founding members will be recognized for their leadership role in proactively pushing toward sustainable practices and conserving the environment we love.
“As a mission driven brand, 1 Hotels have already taken steps to eliminate plastics throughout the properties and raise awareness around the issue to preserve beautiful Miami Beach,” said Milton Sgarbi, Vice President, 1 Hotel South Beach. “We look forward to joining the #PlasticFreeMB campaign and working closely with the City of Miami Beach.”
In 2012, Miami Beach became one of the first cities in the nation to enact a partial ban on plastic straws, however it only prohibits businesses from giving single-use straws to people on the beach. In July it was reported that commissioners will consider the ban to extend to all of the city’s beaches, parks, piers, docks, marinas, and boat ramps and would include single-use plastic stirrers as well.
The Miami Beach ordinance, which is being sponsored by Rosen Gonzalez, Mayor Dan Gelber, and Commissioner Michael Gongora, would go into effect in February 2019 after a public education campaign and a warning period.
For more information, visit www.plasticfreemb.com.