Key Biscayne

Key Biscayne bans Styrofoam from beaches, parks

Styrofoam cups, plates, coolers and containers have been banned from Key Biscayne parks, beaches and village facilities.

“Polystyrene is pervasive in our environment,” said Village Council member Theodore Holloway, who proposed the ban. “It doesn’t decompose, it has a long-lasting impact, and the sooner we can curb that pollution and keep it from entering our water, the better.”

The Village Council approved an ordinance Nov. 25 that bans contractors from using and selling food in Styrofoam containers. The ban also applies to residents and visitors carrying polystyrene products onto any beach or park in the village.

The Styrofoam ban follows similar actions by other coastal cities. Miami Beach banned Styrofoam products from its parks and sidewalk cafes in July, and Bal Harbour banned them from its restaurants, stores and beaches in mid-November.

The ban will operate on a complaint basis. Residents can call the code enforcement department to report the use of Styrofoam products in the village.

“We’re not looking to assess punitive damages,” Holloway said. “It’s more about educating the population, shifting village buying practices and setting a higher level of expectation in protecting our waters and environment.”

Key Biscayne’s Green Committee drafted comprehensive plans to assess the village’s environmental impact and bring back suggestions for council approval. Banning polystyrene was among the plans’ proposals. So was taking a look at banning the use of plastic bags, but that cannot be done because state law prohibits municipal governments from enacting plastic bag ordinances.

The council approved a resolution Nov. 18 asking the Florida Legislature to allow local governments to regulate plastic bag use.