St. Pete wants ban on plastic straws

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St. Petersburg is once again continuing its efforts to be an eco-friendly city, this time by trying to get rid of plastic straws.

Tuesday morning the city kicked off its campaign to curb the use of plastic straws. St. Pete says an average person will use about 35,000 straws in their life, and it estimated a third of them end up in waterways.

"St. Pete is a coastal city we are surrounded by water," Councilwoman Darden Rice said. “The straws are harmful to marine wildlife.”

City Council will meet later this week to discuss whether St. Pete should just ban plastic straws altogether. Rice says the city is leaning towards an incentive program to give businesses a nudge in the right direction.

"Sometimes a ban can have negative effects if we get negative backlash,” Rice said. “Everything is going to be on the table for the discussion."

Robin King owns Three Birds Tavern on 4th Street North, where they've cut back on plastic straw use. 

Kings says, at her restaurants, plastic straws are only available upon request. She eventually wants to join many beachfront bars and restaurants and only offer paper straws.

"I would like to see what a voluntary movement looks like first and then transition people into a ban," King said.

St. Pete will hold a public hearing on the issue Thursday morning.