When Coral Gables enacted its polystyrene ban in 2016, it became a leader in the sustainability movement. No more of those Styrofoam food containers that end up in dumps, unable to biodegrade in our lifetimes.
Now a three-judge panel in the Third District Court of Appeal has overturned the ruling of a Miami-Dade County circuit judge, who earlier decided that a state law barring local governments from regulating food containers was unconstitutional. Siding with the Florida Retail Federation, the appeals court said the state law was in fact constitutional.
Environmentalists and local officials are fuming at the decision, which also has implications for the city’s ban on plastic bags. At this point, however, the city can do little except appeal the decision – or hope that city businesses will continue to avoid Styrofoam anyway. “We are hopeful that the businesses will continue to comply with this,” says City Attorney Miriam Soler Ramos. “They realize that being green and sustainable is not going to break the bank, and people are asking more and more for this. They want [the Gables] to be green and sustainable.”