Rusty Pelican Introduces Initiative to Reduce Single Use Disposable Plastic

MIAMI IS NOT PLASTICThe #MiamiIsNotPlastic campaign – a joint effort between Key Biscayne Florida’s iconic waterfront restaurant Rusty Pelican, its neighboring sister restaurant Whisky Joe’s, and the Rickenbacker Marina – officially kicked off in January 2018.  Conceived by Pallava Goenka, Regional Managing Director of Specialty Restaurants Corporation (SRC) which operates Rusty Pelican and Whisky Joe’s, in partnership with the Rickenbacker Marina, the initiative, which draws attention to plastic pollution caused by single use plastic, has drawn the interest of environmental organizations, government officials and local citizens.  At a launch event at Rusty Pelican, more than 500 attendeesgathered to engage with organizations dedicated to supporting the effort, hear from local environmental groups and politicians, and pledge support in eliminating plastic pollution.

“When you begin to wrap your mind around the fact that 500 million straws are used in the United States every day and that these single use plastics contribute to the approximately 8 million tons of plastic pollution that reach our oceans annually, you want to try to do what you can to alleviate this,” offered Goenka.

Indeed, in late 2017, Rusty Pelican began eliminating plastic straws, as well as plastic to-go containers, utensils, kid’s cups, and plastic coffee pods at the restaurant. Instead of plastic straws, patrons are offered a more environmentally friendly paper straw upon request. Takeaway containers and utensils are being replaced with a biodegradable paper alternative; doggie bags will be packed in reusable tote bags, and children’s cups are paper rather than plastic. They are even replacing coffee pods with fresh brewed coffee. The marina has already stepped up, eliminating the use of all Styrofoam and single use plastics at its office, retail, and convenience store.

To participate in #MiamiIsNotPlastic, restaurants, bars, marinas and other establishments need to commit to replacing single use disposable plastic items with ocean-friendly alternatives such as recycled paper, bamboo, stainless steel or glass.  The newly formed group’s event with civic partner, Debris Free Oceans was embraced with open arms by the Miami community, encouraging surrounding restaurateurs to commit to replacing single use disposable plastic items with ocean-friendly alternatives. Special guest speakers included City of MiamiCommissioner Ken Russell, Co-Founder and President of Debris Free Ocean, Caiti Pomerance, Coral Gables City Commissioner Vince Lago, Founder of Lean Orb, Anastasia Mikhalochkina and Global Corporate Responsibility Director of Bacardi Good Spirited, Jennifer Dewitt. Representatives from FRLA (Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association), Bacardi, Dade Paper, Jackson Family Winery, SaltWater Brewery, Surfrider Foundation, Lean Orb, Lonely Whale, Marjory Stoneman Douglas Biscayne Nature Center, VolunteerCleanUp.Org, and Miami Waterkeeper all showcased their products and ideas and announced their commitment to the project. Regularly scheduled meetings, beach clean ups and continued recruitment are all on tap for 2018 and will be updated via the group’s website and Facebook page.