Last month, the City of Berkeley, CA, unanimously passed the nation’s most ambitious, comprehensive ordinance on disposable plastic foodware to date. The new law requires that:
Disposable items like utensils, straws, lids, and sleeves may only be provided upon request or at a self-serve station, not automatically.
Food vendors must provide compost bins for customers.
All disposable takeout foodware must be 100% BPI certified compostable
by January 1, 2020.
All vendors must charge $0.25 cents for hot and cold takeout cups by January 1, 2020.
All eat-in customers must be served foods in reusable foodware by July 1, 2020.
This ordinance is a big win for the plastic-free, zero-waste movement, and it will require big changes for some Berkeley restaurants. But there are restaurants, whether in or outside Berkeley, that are already ahead of the game. Last year, I hung out with Heather Clapp of Jules Thin Crust pizza restaurant just… Read the rest
Using our own containers to buy foods from bulk bins is one of the primary ways to avoid plastic packaging while grocery shopping. But it’s not always easy, especially when you’re just beginning your plastic-free journey. First, you have to find shops in your area that offer foods from bulk bins, and then you need to find out how they handle customers’ containers. You only want to pay for what’s inside, so the store needs to have a way to deduct the weight of the container. Some shops prefer customers to weigh their own containers, while other stores like Whole Foods require customers to visit the customer service desk to have their containers weighed by a staff member.
The Solution to Plastic-Free Bulk Shopping
San Francisco plastic pollution activists Eva Holman and Carolyn Box got tired of having to weigh their containers every time they went shopping (yes, you can put a sticker on the jar, but eventually, the sticker washes… Read the rest
The following is a guest post from Balaka B. Ghosal who contacted me last year to share her zero waste, plastic-free journey. Enjoy!
Most big journeys in our lives start with a story. Mine does, too.
Right after coming from India to Houston, Texas, with a six-year-old in tow, I was excited about the amazing systems and processes that worked like a well-oiled machine (or at least so it felt to me, as a new immigrant).
Interstate highways intersecting this megacity’s inner loop freeways without signals or snarling vehicles, disciplined queuing up at any checkout counters, kids’ activities planned days or weeks in advance, office supplies to organize the messiest studies, tools for all kinds of creativity and problem-solving impresses me even to this day, in spite of their carbon and water footprints. I could see why America is ahead of the pack in the industrial revolution.
Serving-size packaging for every snack, fancy party supplies, and Styrofoam… Read the rest