MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) – Instead of handing out violations, the City of Miami Beach is giving Styrofoam cooler-toting individuals a break by swapping them for a reusable, non-Styrofoam cooler.

The cooler swap is taking place at select high-traffic beach entrances, such as 73rd Street and is a coordinated effort between the Miami Beach Office of Environmental Management, Code Compliance Department, Miami Beach Sustainability Committee, Surfrider Foundation, and members from other local not-for-profit organizations.

In 2012, the city passed an ordinance banning Styrofoam products on the city’s beaches to reduce litter and pollutants in the environment.

The collected Styrofoam coolers from the Fourth of July will be properly recycled at a permitted Styrofoam recycling facility.

Styrofoam, glass and cans are prohibited on the beach and violations are subject to fines. The fines are as follows: first offense: $50.00 fine; second offense: $100.00 fine; third or subsequent offense: $500.00 fine. In lieu of a fine, the special master may accept voluntary community service removing litter in the city equivalent to one hour of community service for each $5.00 of an imposed fine.

On July 23, Miami Beach commissioners will vote on codifying into law the ban of Styrofoam from public facilities, parks and sidewalk cafes. The new ordinance passed on first reading on June 11.

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