Plastic Bans of varying degrees have begun springing up in cities around the world, and this snowball effect has just sprouted a revolutionary, and sensible solution to tackling the plastic pollution epidemic.
The City of Berkeley has just issued a Disposable Foodware and Litter Reduction Ordinance that has been touted as “the most ambitious and comprehensive piece of municipal legislation” that has been introduced in the United States that works to reduce plastic waste. Though the ordinance is still under review, the next vote is expected to take place in the Fall of 2018 and has already seen overwhelming support.
According to Sandra Curtis, Director of Innovative Projects, in an article by the Plastic Pollution Coalition, the ordinance aims to create a win-win situation for all involved, meaning that it helps meet the city’s zero waste goals, saves local businesses money, contributes to public health and environmental protection and as an added bonus-less nasty trash laying around!
What is Changing?
The current proposed changes laid out in Berkeley’s plan are:
- Only reusable utensils, plates, etc. can be used at dine-in establishments
- All take-out containers must be approved as recyclable or compostable
- There will be a $0.25 charge for every single use beverage and food container provided
- Straws, stirrers, spill plugs, utensils, etc. will only be provided upon request
This ordinance is a step in the right direction of getting the public to be more mindful of their use of single-use plastic, without completely going cold turkey on the products, making for an easier transition into a waste-free society.
Why You Should Care
Plastic utensils, straws and so on often enter the environment and break down-contaminating the world’s oceans, drinking water and food chain causing serious health problems for the animals and humans that ingest the remaining plastic contaminants. Reducing plastic has no longer just become an environmental protection endeavor, but a crusade to protect public health as well.
How You Can Help
- Berkeley is the 6thS. city to begin issuing legislation against plastic, and many more are beginning to form their plans. Get in touch with your local government to see if there are any current plans to tackle your town’s plastic pollution problem and if there isn’t get a conversation started!
- For added help, contact any of these activist groups that are also supporting the Berkeley ordinance and helping for other bans; Break Free from Plastic(BFFP), Ecology Center, Clean Water Action, UpStream, The Story of Stuff Project, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Plastic Pollution Coalition, and Surfrider Foundation. Many have local chapters or helpful information on their websites to help you get started.
- Start reducing plastic in your own life, check out our article with tips to reduce less plastic by clicking here.
- Support endeavors that aim to reduce plastic-where can you find such a thing? Well, you’re looking at it!
We Want Refill is a grassroots campaign that seeks to help reduce plastic pollution everywhere by putting refill stations in retail stores, so you can refill soaps, detergents and shampoos. It could keep a significant amount of plastic out of landfills, but retailers don’t think you’re interested in sustainable options.
Help us prove them wrong! Sign the petition below to start taking steps to protect our Earth and tell retailers that #WeWantRefill!