Plastics have Become a Problem North, South, East & West

by Duane Nichols on September 19, 2014

Plastic spoons are fossil energy intensive

San Francisco becomes first major city to ban sale of plastic water bottles

From an Article by Joshua Sabatini, San Francisco Examiner, March 4, 2014

San Francisco became the first major city in the U.S. to ban the sale of plastic water bottles on public property, building on a nationwide effort to curb waste from the billion-dollar industry. The Board of Supervisors voted 11-0 to approve the legislation.

During the next four years, the ban will phase out the sales of plastic water bottles holding 21 ounces or less on city property, indoor or outdoor, which will impact park vendors, food truck operators, street fairs and places like the Moscone Center convention facility. Waivers are permissible if an adequate alternative water source is not available.

“It was not long ago that our world wasn’t addicted to plastic water bottles.” “It wasn’t until the 1990s that the now-$60 billion plastic-bottle water industry experienced an enormous growth based on massive marketing and distribution campaigns.”

The proposal was supported by the Think Outside the Bottle campaign, a nationwide effort that encourages restrictions of the “eco-unfriendly product.”  In San Francisco, Recology collects 10 million to 15 million single-use plastic water bottles a year.

San Francisco’s ban is less strict than the full prohibitions passed in 14 national parks, as well as those by a number of universities and in Concord, Mass.

Joshua Arce, chairman of the Commission on the Environment, said the ban is “another step forward on our zero-waste goal.” The City wants to have no waste going to its landfill by 2020. Its diversion rate now stands at 80 percent. “We had big public events for decades without plastic bottles and we’ll do fine without them again,” Arce said.

Past efforts toward the goal included banning plastic bags and plastic-foam containers. Violators of the plastic bottle ban would face fines of up to $1,000.

The American Beverage Association, which includes Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo, said in a statement that the ban was “nothing more than a solution in search of a problem. This is a misguided attempt by city supervisors to decrease waste in a city of avid recyclers.”


Montgomery County in Maryland Considering Styrofoam Ban

From the San Francisco Chronicle, September 10, 2014

Washington, DC  —  Lawmakers in Montgomery County in Maryland, which adjoins the District of Columbia,  are proposing legislation that would ban the use of plastic foam food containers.

Councilmember Hans Riemer introduced the bill banning the use of Styrofoam containers in restaurants, supermarkets and institutional cafeterias in the county. Riemer says the containers hurt the environment.

The county already has a Styrofoam ban in place in its cafeterias, and Montgomery schools are phasing out their use of foam food service trays. The proposed legislation would also ban the sale of foam packing “peanuts”.

Montgomery County’s proposed ban is similar to legislation already passed by lawmakers in the District of Columbia. The city’s ban will take effect starting in 2016.

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