single-use plastics

Emily Michot / Miami Herald

Forty-five million.

That’s how many plastic straws Miami-Dade County Public Schools was sending to landfills every school year, according to estimates by administrators.

This school year, that number is zero.

Starting last August, the district eliminated plastic straws from the utensil packets distributed during breakfasts, lunches and after-school meals. Now, students get sporks and napkins, and those who need straws can ask for the paper variety.

Unilever, the British-Dutch conglomerate that owns Ben & Jerry's, Vaseline, Dove and more, announced plans Monday to halve its non-recycled plastic packaging by 2025. According to Unilever's statement, the company currently uses about 700,000 tons of plastic packaging every year.

View of Biscayne Bay from a downtown Miami condo.
Sam Turken / WLRN

A grand jury convened by the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office has sounded a dire warning about the state of Biscayne Bay, which it calls the “crown jewel of our environment.” The group warned local officials that immediate action should be taken to save it, and included a variety of recommendations.