Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried (D) is determined to get rid of polystyrene packaging in businesses her department regulates and in stores. To get the ball rolling, Fried announced that she would be directing rules to the Florida Legislature, which she hopes will lead to ratification.
The gubernatorial candidate is calling on Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) to help her promote the rule.
“I was pleased to see Gov. DeSantis this week talking about how to make our state more resilient in the face of climate change, even if he won’t call it that,” the Florida Commissioner said during a news conference at the Jupiter Lighthouse. “Maybe with his new-found interest in sustainability, he will help my department… get this passed, and I welcome his partnership.”
The comments come after Governor DeSantis announced a three-year environmental spending plan, which includes $276 million in proposed state spending that would help fund 76 environmental projects.
“We’re not doing any left-wing stuff. What we’re doing, though, is just reacting to the fact that, Ok, we’re a flood-prone state, we do have storms,” the Governor explained.
In regards to Commissioner Fried’s initiative, her effort targets polystyrene, which has faced criticized from environmentalists for not being biodegradable and because it’s composed of chemicals that are poisonous to both animals and humans.
As a response, Fried is promoting a Florida-based production of an alternative packaging option, which would be made from sugar cane fiber, hemp, or other plant-based materials that would be harvested and processed into packaging in the Sunshine State.
“The only argument that we have heard is obviously the cost, and making sure there is enough supply,” she detailed, adding that “that’s why we’re having this conversation now.”
“That’s why year one is getting that information from the actual companies, and then we can start phasing it out,” Fried said, commenting that “that gives another year for these types of products and types of companies and the entrepreneurial spirit which is alive and well here in the state of Florida, to come here and get ready for that.”