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Can I Get A Sustainable Spork? Campaign Kicks Off To Eliminate Single-Use Plastics In Greater Miami

By 2050, the plastic in the world's oceans is expected to outweigh the fish, according to the World Economic Forum.
Rajanish Kakade
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

By 2050, the world’s oceans are on track to contain more plastic than fish, by weight.

That’s according to the World Economic Forum. The plight of oceans is one reason why a group of Miami businesses and restaurateurs has started a campaign to outlaw single-use plastics. It's called the Miami Is Not Plastic campaign and the inaugural event is happening Wednesday night.

Aabad Melwani, an organizer and the president of the Rickenbacker Marina, says the goal is to connect local businesses with vendors who can provide environmentally friendly utensils and containers.

"We see a ton of plastic bags that have the red thank-yous on them and stuff like that. We see a ton of plastic Coke bottles, water bottles," he said. "We have pristine resources here, and we should really do our part to preserve paradise."

Melwani said for that to happen businesses in Miami's food and beverage industry need to see firsthand that "environmentally friendly" doesn't necessarily mean "expensive and hard to find."

"If you take the route where government just clobbers people over the head with regulations, there's going to be this instinct of, hey, mind your own business," Melwani said. "That's where we really need to focus on the community-building aspect and have buy-in from the private sector."

The Miami Is Not Plastic kickoff event is 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at The Rusty Pelican, 3201 Rickenbacker Causeway, Key Biscayne, FL 33149. Speakers will include Coral Gables Commissioner Vince Lago, who pushed for the city's bans on styrofoam and plastic bags, and vendors who make sustainable restaurant supplies.

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Kate Stein can't quite explain what attracts her to South Florida. It's more than just the warm weather (although this Wisconsin native and Northwestern University graduate definitely appreciates the South Florida sunshine). It has a lot to do with being able to travel from the Everglades to Little Havana to Brickell without turning off 8th Street. It's also related to Stein's fantastic coworkers, whom she first got to know during a winter 2016 internship.Officially, Stein is WLRN's environment, data and transportation journalist. Privately, she uses her job as an excuse to rove around South Florida searching for stories à la Carl Hiaasen and Edna Buchanan. Regardless, Stein speaks Spanish and is always thrilled to run, explore and read.