Today’s news is both good and bad in the battle against throw-away plastics. While many major cities ban single-use plastics, McDonald’s does not. Shareholders of the fast food behemoth, rejected a ban on plastic straws in their U.S. restaurants. The vote occurred after receiving a petition that had gathered a half-million signatures urging the company to eliminate plastic straws.
Inconsistently, this followed closely on McDonald’s announcement that they were phasing out plastic straws in all of their UK restaurants, offering paper straws as an alternative.
McDonald’s U.S. executives argued that they have a sustainability plan that will source all of their packaging from renewable or recycled sources by the year 2025.
We’ll be watching, although when pushed, McDonald’s usually, eventually, does the right thing. See our article: Life Beyond Plastic: Good News From McDonald’s.
Vancouver hopes to become the World’s Greenest City
Vancouver is arguably one of the world’s most beautiful cities and now they ambitiously hope by 2020 to be identified as the world’s greenest city. To reach that lofty goal it was the first major Canadian city to pass a ban on a variety of single-use plastics including plastic drinking straws and styrofoam take-out containers and cups. The ban applies to all restaurants and food vendors that have a city license.
The city estimates that daily, 7 million straws are thrown into the garbage and that these single-use plastic items make up 50% of all trash in the city’s public disposal bins, costing nearly $2.5 million in waste removal. The ban is part of the city’s “zero waste 2040” initiative to eliminate solid waste disposal by that date. Vancouver is the world’s first city to pass a “zero waste” plan.
“It’s a coastal city, with the plastic items having a significant impact on the environment, we feel it’s important to take action,” said Albert Shamess director of waste management for Vancouver.
New York City considering a ban on plastic straws
Plastic straws and stirrers could soon be banned from use in restaurants, bars and coffee shops in the Big Apple in an attempt to tackle the growing problem of plastic pollution.
Strawless in Seattle Campaign
Lonely Whale has launched a campaign to eliminate throw-away plastic items in the city of Seattle.
San Francisco with other cities ban single-use plastics in California
San Francisco lawmakers have proposed a ban on single-use plastic straws suggesting compostable or reusable alternatives. San Francisco has already banned plastic shopping bags and styrofoam and hopes to join neighboring cities like Berkley, San Luis Obispo, Malibu and Davis that already have laws regulating the use of single-use plastic items. In addition California is studying legislation that would ban plastic straws from restaurants state-wide.
“Why do we have straws all the time?” San Francisco city supervisor Safai said. “And if we’re going to have straws, it’s easy to have an alternative that’s much more recyclable or reusable or washable.”
“It’s sort of this moment where everyone is realizing just how many straws people are using on a daily basis, and that we really need to get a handle on this, or else our environment is going to suffer,” supervisor Tang added.
All of this balances out to pretty good news and indicates that the worldwide effort to ban single-use plastics is a force to be reckoned with and by-the-way we will keep an eye on McDonald’s.
By Robert Frerck, Blue Ocean Network
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