Paper Straws in Florida are Sweeping Beaches Clean

The ban was approved Nov. 6 by the Fort Myers Beach Town Council with an ordinance that prohibited distribution of plastic drinking straws in the town, with limited exceptions. The ordinance allows straws made of paper, plant, vegetable and other materials containing nothing artificial or synthetic.

The ordinance exempts plastic straws used in private homes, at the Beach public school or those prepackaged with drinks outside the town — like single-serve juice and milk cartons.  Some plastic straws did slip through, deliberately or not.  Jane and Jim Schroeder, of Iowa, were walking down Times Square at midday sipping drinks through plastic straws.  Jane Schoeder said she had heard of the ban but really hadn’t thought about it when she and her husband purchased their drinks.

“I thought we had to ask for them first,” she said. The couple’s bloody Mary and Bahama mama, alcoholic mixed drinks, are not allowed away from the place of purchase due to ordinance, plastic straw or not.  The couple, chagrined by their transgression, said they hoped they wouldn’t get in trouble.  Another plastic straw showed up in a large, plastic Big Gulp drink container plopped in a chair cup holder being used by Jennifer Long as she sunbathed on the beach near the Lani Kai.