Florida Senate Committee passes single-use plastic straw pollution bill out of committee

For Immediate Release

Tallahassee, FL--In a short-sighted move, Florida's Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee today passed Senate Bill 588, which prevents local governments from protecting their communities and local ecosystems from single-use plastic straw pollution. The bill will need to be heard in the Community Affairs and Rules committees before going to the full floor.

Below is Environment Florida director Jennifer Rubiello's statement in opposition of the bill from today's hearing:

"Thank you for the opportunity to speak today. My name is Jennifer Rubiello. I’m the director of Environment Florida. We are statewide, citizen-based environmental advocacy group dedicated to protecting Florida’s air, water and open spaces.

On behalf of our 10,000 members and supporters across the state, I urge you to oppose Senate Bill 588. This bill prevents cities and towns in Florida from protecting their communities from plastic pollution, notably single-use plastic straws.

Floridians use an estimated 11 million plastic straws every day. These single-use plastic straws are among the most common forms of plastic pollution contaminating our waterways and are part of the eight million tons of plastic that every year escapes into the environment and eventually the ocean. Plastic doesn’t biodegrade, so scientists have found fragments in hundreds of species, including 44 percent of seabird species, 43 percent of marine mammal species and every species of sea turtle.

Nothing we use for a few minutes--like single-use plastic straws--should threaten our wildlife and the waters so many of us play, fish and swim in for hundreds of years.

The reality is: We have a plastics problem. Our economy encourages us to make, use and throw away plastic items at the greatest possible speed. Only, there really is no “away.” The World Economic Forum predicts there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish—pound for pound—by 2050 if we continue to produce and consume plastics at our current rate.

As a state surrounded by water on three sides, we should be leading the nation in moving away from single-use plastics rather tying the hands of local governments who want to protect wildlife and the health of their communities from pollution. Please vote no on SB 588. Thank you."

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Environment Florida is a statewide, citizen-based environmental advocacy organization working for a cleaner, greener, healthier future.