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There is both a local and global plastics crisis. We must do more to remove single-use plastics from the waste stream, and Berkeley should be a leader. As a consumer and as someone who cares about the oceans, wildlife and the safety of our food and water, I support the proposed Disposable Foodware and Litter Reduction Ordinance.

Action

To remove single-use plastics from the waste stream, the oceans and wildlife, support Berkeley’s proposed Single-use Foodware and Litter Reduction Ordinance.

Ways to Take Action

Call or Email Christienne de Tournay - 415-572-5012 or cdetournay@comcast.net

Write a comment letter to the Zero Waste Commission - Heidi Obermeit, Secretary ZWC, 1201 Second St., Berkeley, CA 94710; hobermeit@CityofBerkeley.info or clerk@CityofBerkeley.info

Come to a Public Hearing - July 12, 2:30-4pm, West Branch Public Library Community Mtg. Rm., 1125 University Ave. Check Zero Waste Commission website for more information.

Background

The ordinance would require that 1) only reusable foodware can be used for dine-in service, 2) all takeout foodware must be approved as recyclable or compostable in the City’s collection programs, 3) food vendors charge customers $0.25 for every disposable beverage cup and $0.25 for every disposable food container provided, and 4) disposable compostable straws, stirrers, cup spill plugs, napkins, and utensils for take-out are provided only upon request by the customer or at a self-serve station. The ordinance is supported by a coalition of over 1000 local, national, and international organizations participating in the Break Free from Plastic (BFFP) global movement, including the Ecology Center, Clean Water Action, UpStream, The Story of Stuff Project, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Plastic Pollution Coalition, and Surfrider Foundation.

Globally, single-use disposable foodware is contributing to plastic pollution in the world’s oceans, drinking water, and food. According to the Ecology Center, 80% of plastic found in the ocean comes from land-based sources. Shoreline Cleanup volunteers collected 5,826 food wrappers; 2,156 straws and stirrers; 1,577 forks, knives, and spoons; and 3,269 foam packaging items from Berkeley, Albany, and Emeryville shorelines in 2016. The World Economic Forum estimates that 150 million tons of plastic are already floating in the world’s oceans – with an additional eight million tons entering the water each year. It is estimated that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in our oceans by weight. Worldwide, single-use packaging is the biggest source of trash found in or near bodies of water, according to the Ocean Conservancy, which also says that plastics are believed to threaten at least 600 different wildlife species. Ninety percent of seabirds, including albatross and petrels, are now eating plastics on a regular basis. By 2050, that figure is expected to rise to 100 percent. In addition, evidence suggests that humans are consuming plastics through the seafood we eat.

Additional References

Ecology Center
CNN
Huffington Post