Florida Region

FDACS Polystyrene Phase-Out Rule Making Introduced to Florida Legislature December, 2021

Ready for 2022 Legislative Ratification

L to R Lauren Bintz, Orlando Chapter Chair/ Christine Kelcourse, North Florida Green Chamber/ Anastasia Mikhalochkina, Miami Chapter Ocean Friendly Restaurants and Lean Orb/ Mason King, First Coast Chapter Ocean Friendly Restaurants/ Nicole de Venoge, Surfrider Foundation Florida Policy Manager/ Maddie Kaufman, Debris Free Oceans

Following a Surfrider Foundation and Sarasota Department of Parks and Recreation cleanup in Siesta Key Beach on September 24, 2021, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Nikki Fried announced in a press conference that the Department is beginning the rule-making process that could start phasing out polystyrene food packaging by the end of 2021.

Florida policy Manager, Nicole de Venoge (L), Florida Commissioner of Agriculture, Nikki Fried (R)

The ban would go into effect within a year and 40,000 grocery stores, markets, convenience stores, and other businesses under the department’s purview, would have to be polystyrene-free within 3 years. Surfrider Foundation has been part of the rule-making process giving commentary and asked for the more rapid phasing out of the products from the 5 proposed, to the 3 years in the amended version. Though this won’t impact restaurants, the hope is that Florida’s entrepreneurs, business owners, and consumers will rise to the challenge and help make Florida Foam Free throughout the state! You can read more about it here and watch the press conference here.

In November 2021, the Surfrider Foundation and Friends from medical professionals to ocean activists stood in support of the 2nd rulemaking during the FDACS Energy and Climate Summit in Orlando. This new version here includes the more aggressive 3 year timeline on the phaseout of polystyrene EPS in the state. You can read more about it here. Now, based on the SERC it will have to make it through the Legislature for approval.

In December 2021, the Surfrider Foundation Palm Beach Chapter spoke on the announcement that the final copy of the rules had been filed in the Florida Legislature for ratification here.

The final rulemaking would phase out polystyrene in 3 years making Florida Foam Free in 2025 in all grocery, convenience and marketplaces across the state. This would apply to 40,000+ businesses in the Department’s purview (not restaurants).