By Mike S Payton, Contributing Reporter
MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA – On October 16th, the City of Miami Beach Mayor and Commission unanimously passed a fifth amendment to the Rules and Regulations for Beachfront Concession Operations, which requires beachfront concession operators to utilize 100 percent reusable products.
The rule will come into effect after the expiration of a one-year educational period that will commence this month, with full implementation in October 2020.
“Single-use plastic is neither readily recyclable nor biodegradable and takes hundreds to thousands of years to degrade in the environment,” said Mayor Dan Gelber.
Adding, “This amendment will support our efforts to reduce litter by reducing discarded single-use plastic containers and wares that contribute to overburdened landfills, threaten wildlife and marine life, and degrade our beaches.”
In a press release the city stated that as an environmental leader among local governments in the State of Florida, a major goal is to replace single-use plastics with reusable, recyclable or compostable alternatives whenever possible.
In the formulation of this amendment, the city administration solicited input from upland owners, beachfront concessionaires, and representatives from Miami-Dade County beach operations.
“I am thrilled to finally see this piece of legislation come to fruition — this really was a collaborative effort with our concessionaires and city staff,” added Commissioner Micky Steinberg.
Adding that “By using reusables, we are expecting to eliminate anywhere between 60,000 to 80,000 pounds of garbage each year.”
Back in 2012, Miami Beach was one of the first cities in the United States to pass an ordinance to prohibit businesses from providing single-use plastic straws on the beach.
In July 2018, the city commission unanimously passed legislation to include plastic stirrers in prohibition and to extend regulation to all parks, docks, piers, dock ramps, marinas and beaches within city limits.
The new ordinance took effect February 1st. In addition to beachfront properties, the law also applies to sidewalk cafes in the city like the ones on Ocean Drive and Lincoln Road.
Last month the city passed an ordinance that prohibits single-use plastic beverage straws and stirrers citywide – further reducing the amount of plastic pollution in the city’s storm drains and waterways as well as improving water quality.