On Wednesday, January 27, 2016, the Hallandale Beach, FL town council voted down its anti-foam ordinance 3-2. This comes six months after the proposed ordinance was tabled. The council also voted unanimously on a waste management workshop.
The ordinance’s defeat came after a discussion involving the findings of a beach cleanup. The 2015 Summer Youth Environmentalist Employment/Education Beach Clean Up Program spanned 31.24 miles of beach in Hallandale Beach, and teens collected 7,319 individual items of trash, weighing in at more than 536 pounds. Of these more than 7,300 pieces of trash, only 34—or less than half of one percent—were polystyrene foam.
The councilmembers understood that since foam littering was not a significant problem in Hallandale Beach, a more productive measure would include educating their citizens about recycling opportunities and litter prevention.
Polystyrene foam is already recycled across the nation, and reused polystyrene can be made into picture frames, surfboards, rulers, garden nursery trays, and other household items. It can also be used in architectural molding and in eco-initiatives like alternative energy production and “green” buildings.
With a new commitment to foam recycling, Hallandale Beach is providing a model for other towns in Florida. The success of the 2015 Summer Youth Environmentalist Employment/Education Beach Clean Up Program has also inspired plans for another event in the summer of 2016.