Strawless on Sanibel (SOS)

Strawless on Sanibel is a conservation initiative of Coastal Keepers to reduce plastic straws on our islands, and thus in our oceans.

Why skip the straw?
Each day, over 500 million plastic straws are used in the United States making them one of the most common trash items collected on beaches worldwide. 

Unfortunately, plastic never fully biodegrades and remains in the environment long after we have used it. As plastic floats in our oceans it poses a threat to marine life as animals often mistake it for food and suffer negative side effects and as it becomes smaller and smaller, it enters the food web. Making the switch to help is easy – Go strawless or use alternative options such as compostable or reusable straws.

Want to get involved?
As an individual or business owner, there are plenty of options to support this initiative and help keep our islands clean. How can this be done?

Use alternative options. 
Go strawless. Stop using plastic straws completely, order drinks without a straw.
Spread knowledge. Educate family, friends, and businesses about the joys of going strawless.

Straws by request only. Only offer a straw if a customer asks for one. 
Provide alternative options. Straws made of compostable material are a great substitute.
Go strawless. No longer provide straws.
Educate and Market. Tell your customers you are running your business in an ocean-friendly way.

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Update: We are Strawless on Sanibel!

In 2018, Coastal Keepers along with the Strawless on Sanibel coalition, urged the Sanibel City Council to regulate plastic straws on our Sanctuary Island. In response, the City of Sanibel researched and drafted an outstanding plastic straw ordinance.

The ordinance does not permit the distribution or sale of single-use plastic straws by commercial entities on Sanibel. Residents are encouraged or go strawless or to utilize environmentally-friendly alternatives such as reusable straws or straws made of paper or compostable materials. The ordinance will go into effect in January 2019. In this time the city will focus on educating commercial establishments, helping identify alternative options as needed. 

 After the transition period, if businesses do not comply with the ordinance, penalties will be issued. The penalty schedule is included in the ordinance. 

 The goal of the ordinance is to help enrich the lives of our citizens, while ensuring for a healthy and vibrant environment for future generations.  Some of the exclusions to the ordinance include:

  •  The use of a plastic straw by any disabled person that requires or relies on the use of a straw to consume beverages and/or food supplements.

  • Pre-packaged beverages with plastic straws sold or distributed within the City provided that such beverages are prepared and packaged outside the City and are not altered, packaged or repackaged within the City.  Medical or dental facilities.

  • A plastic straw that is included with and manufactured as a part of, or in combination with, a re-usable beverage container and is intended for continued and multiple uses with such container.

  • Land or facilities owned and managed by the Lee County School Board, Lee County, the State of Florida or the Federal Government.