Taking a cue from Miami Beach, two waterfront communities have taken steps toward restricting the use of Styrofoam products.
Both Bay Harbor Islands and North Bay Village tentatively approved ordinances that would eliminate polystyrene, or Styrofoam, products in certain areas of each town.
Last August, Miami Beach commissioners banned Styrofoam from city parks, events and property as well as sidewalk cafes.
Miami Beach environmental activist Michael DeFilippi spearheaded the movement there and encouraged efforts in both Bay Harbor and North Bay Village.
“If someone litters one of these items within the streets, it could easily potentially carry out into the water here and gets broken down into pieces,” DeFilippi told the Bay Harbor Islands council Monday. “Marine animals can easily swallow it.”
The ordinance in Bay Harbor Islands would ban the material from town restaurants. Town Council members unanimously approved the ban on first reading Monday.
Councilwoman Kelly Reid, who sponsored the ordinance, says she had consulted about half of the town restaurateurs, and they were on board with the ban.
The town would also provide a receptacle to collect Styrofoam.
Bay Harbor resident Susan Luck commended the council for taking the measure.
“It is at least one small way that we have an awareness about how our environment is being impacted by the products that we use,” Luck said.
In North Bay Village on Tuesday evening, commissioners unanimously approved on first reading a ban on the use of Styrofoam food service items by village contractors.
North Bay Village resident Ann Bakst says the ban does not go far enough.
“I think it should apply to all restaurants in the city,” Bakst said. “I see it [littered] all over the place.”
Some commissioners, such as Mayor Connie Leon-Kreps, saw the move as just the beginning.
“We need to start educating the restaurants,” Leon-Kreps said. “If we are going to move toward that in the future, we need to change the mindset and culture of the restaurants as far as using Styrofoam so they are aware and not surprised when we do make the next move.”