It’s important to note that substitutes for single-use plastics should be carefully chosen. We suggest first opting for reusable products, prior to moving to single-use materials. Substitutes should be made of non-plastic materials such as paper, sugar cane, bamboo, or other similar materials. Remember: the straw/stirrer ordinance does not allow for biodegradable or compostable plastics as substitutes.
Biodegradable and compostable plastics were not considered because it can take several months for it to decompose fully and by the time it decomposes, it could still impact our oceans and marine life just like regular plastic. According to The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) biodegradation rate can be very dependent on the surrounding environment and the complete plastic biodegradation is a process that is temperature dependent and which happens when none of the polymer remains, which can take several months to occur. UNEP concluded that biodegradable plastics will not significantly decrease the quantity of plastics entering our oceans or reduce the risk of physical and chemical impacts on the marine environment.
North Bay Village has partnered with Debris Free Oceans to help business owners choose environmentally friendly products for their establishments. Debris Free Oceans is a 100% volunteer-run, North Bay Village-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring local communities to responsibly manage the lifecycle of plastics and waste through education, outreach, research and policy initiatives. Since its inception in 2014, Debris Free Oceans has removed over 25,000 lbs of marine debris from our South Florida reefs and beaches and educated thousands of students in Florida about how to live a zero-waste lifestyle. Hosting over 130 lifestyle awareness events, Debris Free Oceans has engaged an additional 5,500 people in interactive zero-waste events designed to promote positive behavior change.