FORT LAUDERDALE — A ban on plastic foam may be coming to the beach and other public spots in Fort Lauderdale, an attempt to protect the environment and marine life.

That means no coffee in foam cups on the beach. No carryout in plastic foam containers.
The ban would apply to not only the beach but city parks, city buildings and city-owned golf courses and marinas. City vendors also would be prohibited from using plastic foam.

If the ban is approved, people who carry food or drinks in plastic foam — also known as Styrofoam — could be fined anywhere from $100 to $500.

First-time offenders would get a warning. After that, fines start at $100, then go to $200 for a third offense and $500 for a fourth offense.

Commissioners gave initial approval to the proposal Thursday night, but the ban wouldn’t take effect until a final vote later this year.

Vice Mayor Steve Glassman, whose district includes the beach, says he’s gotten complaints from residents about litter and plastics on the sand.

“People are always asking me about cleaning up the beach,” he said before the vote. “The most comments I get from my district are about trying to protect the environment.”

Plastic foam, said by experts to take hundreds of years to decompose, has also been banned by New York City, San Francisco, Hollywood, Dania Beach, Miami Beach and Deerfield Beach.

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