Florida: Fun / Zerowaste Florida: Not so Fun
One week. One brother. One problem. The United States of Single Use Plastic.
But first I wanna give all my credits to every activist in Miami Beach and Key West. Hat off, like we Germans would say. You are so much more surrounded by a huge lack of knowledge, ignorance and plastic trash. Of course not visible on the streets like in other countries with the same issues, but neatly clean cleared away. I’m really blessed my daily sphere of activity is Vienna. Environmental activism for Beginners.
We started in Miami Beach. My brother thought we are on holiday. I was on a mission: Avoiding single use plastic. But its crazy. And all over. If you walk through the streets, you see it on every table. Not only in form of straws. It also seems to become popular to serve only certain drinks in glasses, the rest in disposable cups. But also inside the restaurants and coffee shops you can’t get away from it. There was this super cute place in a side street in Key West. Nice decoration, very cozy and colorful. But everything served in or on disposable cups and plates. I was truly shocked. That goes way too far. I needed three attempts so Tripadvisor would allow to publish my review. More family friendly please, they said. Be Jane Goodall, I thought, and tried it again.
But also in all the places, when you decide to have a smoothie or fresh juice NOT to go, it comes in a disposable. Also, little side extras like dressings or herbs. When you ask the people „why?„ they either have no idea what the problem is or admit the convenience issue behind it. When you come closer to the beach or pool it even gets worse. Because glass is no option and hard plastic too much effort. When you stay at the hotel beaches and order some food and drinks, it comes in huge paper bags filled with plastic trash. And then you have it certainly everywhere on the street, because nobody is using their own cup. All that effort of producing, packing and shipping for the time it takes to drink a coffee. Crazy. People with their own cups are becoming more and more, but in seven days I only saw one in a pub in Key West. It was sitting next to a dozen disposable ones on the table from a group of older boys. I asked if he uses it instead of the cups. The old guy smiled at me and said: No, its just filled with the real stuff. Even though I like that spirit, I’m not sure if it counts in terms of sustainability. And then all the straws. In every stupid drink. And they come in pairs. Its probably written in the straw rights. Well, you won’t become the worlds second most polluter without any effort.
On top of all the trashing, people seem to live in their cars. Of course only with the AC, means engine on. I swear I have been in streets with parking cars, where more engines were on than not. It’s the same shit as in Austria. Just ten times worse. And colder.
At least Miami serves all this with some great Art Deco and pastel shades. Key West with beautiful Victorian houses in a bahamian style with white picket fences, sundecks and great gardening. Necessary distraction from all the pollution;-)
But yes. Come. Just come prepared. Explain why you refuse single use stuff and suggest changes. Talk to the people. Write it on Tripadvisor. Explain why you do, what you do.
For the plane I came prepared. With my own plastic wine glass, water bottle and thermo cup. In terms of avoiding trash bringing your own food doesn’t make a difference. Yours will be thrown away. Same with the cutlery. Or ask the flight attendant to stow it back so it will be reused.
On land use your stuff. In the end I could have survived with my thermo cup and a plastic box. Or two plastic boxes. Good, healthy, vegan or veggie food is hard to find, so you might wanna order a bit more for take away. The thermo was good for water, coffee and wine. A lot of wine. Easily consumed every time everywhere and ice cold. Saved me a lot of money and nerves. A bottle white at the liquor store costs less than a glass in a bar or restaurant. Only slightly exaggerating:-)
Well, and then hit Miami Beach. Wynwood. Coral Gables. Coconut Grove. Rent a car and do the Keys. Take your time cruising them down. Make stops for swimming. For that every Key is better than Key West. But still tricky to find. Some marinas have a nice set up. Just ask around. All along Route 1, Couchsurfers and Airbnb hosts offer to sleep in their sailing boats. More about this here. In Key West make some detours from Duval Street. The houses are just gorgeous. I also recommend a kayak tour through the Everglades. For bite protection I refused Deet and went with Citronella. The mosquitoes did the same!
->Couchsurfing on the keys
->Good food, tours and places to stay after the gallery
Airportbus 150: Single way: $2,25
When you stay at Miami Beach, which I highly recommend, just take the bus.
Hotel Miami Beach: Seagull: 3 Nights Double Room: €470
A pretty old and worn hotel, having the best time in the last century. Great location, super cheap. The owner doesn’t even try to pretend to have a nice place. For me it was OK. Nice staff, the beds are not disgusting and we didn’t have any bugs. The breakfast was a slap in my face. Sponsored by plastic. But it was not included anyway. They even have a pool. But I wasn’t brave enough to use it. A Citibike Station is just in front of the hotel. Also, the bus station for the Airportbus.
Citibike Miami: Great way to explore the city. Tons of stations. $24 per day (24h)
Car rental Ace: Red Mustang 4 days: $470
The Mustang was the deal between my brother and me for being a penny in the ass;-) Their amazing deals on the website are all without any insurance. In the end we paid more for the insurance than for the car…
Juice and Java (South Beach)
A lot of veggie and vegan stuff, super good food. Great smoothies. Just make sure you bring your own cup for smoothies or ask for a glass. They always come in single use cups. Also, the dressing for salads and bowls come in a little plastic bowl.
Veggie a lot. Organic eggs. For vegan options is air upward. But nice location and their motto is „rosé all day„. Good to start your day before cruising through Wynwood.
Green Gables Cafe (Coral Gables)
A lot of veggie, vegan and only organic stuff. Good food. Also, they try hard avoiding plastic. Very friendly staff. Inside it’s OK. No outside sitting. Good spot for cruising throw the amazing tree streets after eating.
Boho (Coconut Grove)
A super cute restaurant with some vegan options, and they are happy to prepare something for you. They really are;-)
On the way to Key West you are pretty lost. But check Happy Cow first. There is Food for Thought. Food is good. Not great but organic. Unfortunately a lot of single use plastic. For the rest of the time, when went to a common American place, I just choose breakfast potatoes with some sauteed peppers and onions. Worked OK for me. Just make sure to tell them at least twice „no straws, no single use plastic cups, no single use anything„
The Cafe (Key West)
Veggie and vegan only. The food is amazing. Really really good. Even my brother liked it. Also, the vegan Key Lime Cake is good. Just say no to straws.
Willie Ts (Key West)
When your company is getting sick of good and healthy food, this place has one really good vegan dish. Willie’s Semolina Gnocchi Cakes. Just leave the Parmesan on top away. Also, some OK veggie options, live music (not too loud) and a nice location.
The Key Lime Cake my brother bought at Key Lime Pie&Co. Its only for take away and therefor comes hand in hand with a lot of trash. She can put it on a biodegradable plate if you ask for it. Still need your own fork. Also, they put everything they bake inside the shop in plastic stuff. Some of the things they wash out though.
We went with Shurr Adventures close to Everglade City. Highly recommendable. 383 „excellents„ on Tripadvisor. No idea what’s wrong with the one „very good„ 😉 We booked pretty short term the sunset kayak tour. Its just a beautiful way to explores the Everglades. Especially when you are lucky to go with Allie. Such a warm person. Just make sure you have proper clothes on. Stuff mosquitoes can’t bite through. I tried my organic citronella. Didn’t work at all. But after Alli gave me some off her jackets, everything was OK. They offer water and snacks, so if you wanna go zero waste, bring your own stuff. If she is booked, try Eco Everglades.