In light of a gruesome viral video showing marine biologists prying a plastic straw from a turtle’s nose, The City Commission of Treasure Island has recognized an inspiring movement to ban plastic straws from it’s beaches. At the heart of the change is mother Julie Featherston and her 6-year-old son Harper. The two TI residents channeled their passion for environmental protection and created BePlasticFree.org, a local campaign to increase awareness and ban plastic pollution. After a great deal of public support, the popular beach bar “Caddy’s” changed it's straw policy accordingly.
On January 19, 2016, a proposed ordinance, regarding the prohibition of plastic straws on TI beaches, was discussed at the Treasure Island Commission Workshop held in the City Hall Auditorium. This ordinance could impact many community members, particularly Treasure Island locals. If a ban were implemented, Treasure Island will be following in the footsteps other prominent tourist destinations, like Miami Beach and London’s Soho District. Although the ordinance was not adopted, the City agreed to a "voluntary ban." This agreement gives businesses six months to voluntarily abide by the no-plastics rule before deciding whether to rework and adopt an ordinance.