Local group looks to get rid of plastic products on Clearwater Beach

They want to ban straws, cups and more
Posted at 4:27 AM, Apr 28, 2017

It's not unusual to see hundreds of people on Clearwater beach. Thomas Paterek says it's also pretty common to see plastic - cups, lids, and bags.

"By 2050 there will be more single use plastics in our oceans than sea life. Which is really scary," said Paterek, the chairman of the Suncoast Surfrider Foundation. 

He says instead of getting frustrated he talked with the Clearwater Beach Chamber of Commerce and the Environmental Advisory Board - both say it's a problem and want to fix it by asking local businesses to stop handing out plastic.

Paterek says on average somebody uses a plastic straw for 12 minutes and then once it is discarded, possibly into the ocean, it could take hundreds of years for something this small to break down.

"We are a society that is addicted to plastic. And it's hard for us to even think what is a solution for plastic? Simply paper," he said.

But can the addition to plastic be broken?

"I think it can be, it's just like anything once you do it a few times it becomes a habit," said Leslie Brick, who enjoys visiting the beach on vacation.

She says if paper were an option, she'd take it. Paterek says if YOU want to join in on the effort - ask for your to-go food without a bag and your to-go drink without a lid or straw.

The chamber says some restaurants along Clearwater beach have already joined in on the effort. The Environmental advisory board meets with the chamber Tuesday to talk about the project.