The Suncoast Chapter is made up of beautiful Gulf beaches, a vibrant bay, and several coastal communities- the largest of which is St. Petersburg. The Suncoast Chapter has been actively campaigning to reduce single-use plastics in St. Petersburg since 2014. Initally, the chapter leadership connected with local elected officials to discuss the possibility of eliminating single use plastic straws and polystyrene in their community. They also helped form a coalition to educate the public on the perils of plastic pollution and build community support around the issue.
Over the course of the four year campaign, the Chapter and Rise Above Plastics Coalition met with the Chamber of Commerce, local businesses, and elected officials. and more serious discussions started to take shape. One December 13th, 2018, the City of St. Petersburg passed an oridnance banning single use plastic straws. They didn't stop there, they also passed a ban on polystyrene on all city property and at city events. Florida is one of several states that has preempted local governments from banning single-use plastic bags and polystyrene foodware. The one exception to these preemptions is an allowance for cities and counties to ban polystyrene on their municipal property.
This is a monumental win for our Suncoast Chapter and a testament to the dedication and passion of our chapter leaders and members. Sometimes victories take time, but this victory shows why it's so important to stay the course. Congratulations, Suncoast Chapter!