St. Pete businesses unveil voluntary plastics-reduction program; environmentalists want more

plastics ban
"Plastic straws suck" sign. By Seán Kinane / WMNF News (10 April 2018).
plastic plastics straw ban
Ban straws sign. By Seán Kinane / WMNF News (10 April 2018).

This Thursday, the St. Petersburg City Council will begin to discuss how to reduce the amount of single-use plastics in the city; and Tuesday morning a coalition of restaurant owners and civic groups unveiled a new campaign for businesses to voluntarily reduce the use of plastic straws. But for some environmentalists, that doesn’t go far enough – they’re hoping the city passes an all-out ban on single-use plastics like straws and bags.

Mayor Rick Kriseman said he supports efforts by City Council member Gina Driscoll to start the conversation.


No Straws St. Pete logo plastic plastics
No Straws St. Pete logo

That’s St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman speaking in city hall this morning during the unveiling of a new program called “No Straws St. Pete.” It asks restaurant owners to give customers straws only after a request for one.

But many environmentalists are calling for an outright ban. Jessica Lewis is chair of Suncoast Surfrider Foundation.

“I really want to see some very strong, meaningful regulations. Hopefully a ban on many single-use plastics including straws and including plastic bags. That would be the end goal.”


So if something happens where it’s just a voluntary program, would that satisfy you?

“That would not be satisfactory. Something short of a ban basically makes us feel like we’ve done something meaningful when we haven’t. Sure, any kind of reduction is helpful. But unless we’re really getting to the root of the problem, and preventing all single-use plastics from reaching our waterways, we’re really not doing enough.”

Lewis points out that a voluntary program went into effect in Treasure Island two years ago, but because there was no enforceable ban, straws continue to litter their beaches.

Raphael Perrier is a co-owner of Kawa Coffee and supports the voluntary straw-reduction campaign unveiled Tuesday.



Gulfport is considering a ban on single-use plastic straws in restaurants.

The St. Pete committee meeting to start the conversation on plastics in the city is Thursday. For more information we ask that you submit your feedback through our customer support portal provided by this website.


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