JUPITER, Fla. — Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried held a news conference Friday morning at the Jupiter Lighthouse to discuss the next steps of her proposal to phase out polystyrene products from Florida grocery stores, markets, convenience stores and other businesses.
Polystyrene food packaging products like Styrofoam cups, plates and to-go-boxes can take more than 500 years to decompose and release hazardous chemicals that poison water resources, pollute the oceans and harm marine life.
"Polystyrene packaging like styrofoam may be convenient, but it doesn't mean it is safe for our health, good for our environment, or the best available option," Fried said.
In September, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services announced they began their rule making process to phase out polystyrene products from the more than 40,000 businesses regulated by the department.
Fried is sending those rules to the Florida Legislature in hopes they will be ratified.
The Democratic candidate for governor said her goal is to have businesses that are regulated by her office annually report the amount of polystyrene products they sell each year. She said she hopes those businesses will completely eliminate polystyrene products within this decade.
Fried said resources like hemp fiber and sugar cane extracts can be used to manufacture alternative food packaging instead of the current styrofoam packing commonly used and said those crops will be grown in Palm Beach County.