The Museum of Ice Cream is a very modern idea: construct a set of colorful rooms literally made for Instagram, make sure tickets are always sold out, and take it on the road to all the trendiest cities in the country. (Also doesn't hurt to invite a pregnant Beyoncé, Jay Z, and an adorable Blue Ivy to take a look around either.) The $38 tickets practically sell themselves. But then again, its criticisms and problem end up being just as modern as the concept. One of the museum’s most beloved attractions, the Sprinkle Pool—a pool filled with as many as 100 million plastic sprinkles—has been termed an environmental hazard and is collecting complaints in multiple cities. Miami has now fined the Museum $5,000 for its environmentally unfriendly sprinkles.
The Miami New Times reports that the city of Miami Beach has been complaining about the “environmental hazard” that is the colorful sprinkles for some time now. The sprinkles stick to people’s clothing and make their way outside of the Museum where they are “consumed by small birds, reptiles and marine species,” Page Six reports. Additionally, as Bustle notes, the sprinkles could ultimately make their way into the ocean, where the plastic would present an issue for marine life.
The complaints resulted in a series of three fines totaling $5,000: it started with one $1,000 fine, but that increased to $2,000 for a second fine issued on Wednesday. On Thursday, the Museum was slapped with another $2,000 fine.
The same concerns were brought up when the Museum had its run in San Francisco in October 2017. SFGate reported at the time that the “colorful plastic sprinkles” were “littering the city's sidewalks.” The concern there was similar: that the sprinkles on the sidewalk would eventually end up in storm drains and then into the ocean.
Spokespeople for the Museum of Ice Cream have responded by providing several statements. Initially, Devan Pucci assured the Miami New Times of their “continuous improvement with our environmental efforts” and added that “we have taken immense precautions to make sure we are a company that values sustainability and one that is proud to be environmentally conscious.”
Another spokesperson for the Museum of Ice Cream provided a much lengthier statement to Bustle. “We appreciate the feedback we have received from visitors and the local Miami community and can assure our audience that we don't take their suggestions lightly,” the statement read, in part. “At all of our MOIC locations, including Miami, we have hired multiple cleaners that are constantly sweeping around the building as well as paying extra attention to the waterway entrance.”
The statement also revealed the Museum has “begun the process of creating a biodegradable sprinkle” but has also been “consulting with top environmental specialists to learn more about how we can greater impact Miami’s sustainable efforts” in the meantime. They also suggest doing “a double shake” before leaving the premises.