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
Local readers may be surprised when I confess that I’ve walked past Three Stone Hearth on University Ave in Berkeley a bunch of times over the years and never gone in. I didn’t go in because I didn’t know what it was.
If I had gone in, I would have discovered a nearly plastic-free, zero waste mecca full of gloriously delicious food and friendly people. Thank goodness the shop owners reached out to me this year to come and talk to their customers about my plastic-free journey. I wish I had known about Three Stone Hearth when I was writing my book because they would have definitely been included!
It’s All About Those Mason Jars
Three Stone Hearth is a Community Supported kitchen (like a CSA for prepared foods) serving up delicious, organic, nutrient-dense foods based on traditional diets. (Weekly offerings include choices for vegans, vegetarians, and meat-eaters.) Customers can come to the store to purchase foods … Read the rest
So, you’ve been reading about ways to reduce your plastic use, including bringing back empty bottles and containers of personal care and cleaning products to refill, and you think, “I’ve got to try that sometime.” (The BULK mobile site can help you find refill locations.) But that means planning ahead and remembering to bring your empty containers back to the store. Once you get in the habit of doing it, remembering is no big deal. But getting started can be difficult for folks just beginning the plastic-free, zero waste journey. If only there were a service that would pick up those empties and deliver freshly filled ones right to your door.
If you live in the Bay Area, Stéphanie Regni can help! Her company, Fillgood.co, delivers refilled glass containers of natural personal care and cleaning products to local customers. I paid a visit to Stéphanie at her home in Albany, CA, last month, and chatted with her… Read the rest
This story starts with a car wreck. A few weeks ago–the week before the U.S. election, to be exact–I was in Maryland visiting my dad. Riding shotgun on the way home from my brother’s birthday dinner, I caught a glimpse of the sign for MOM’s Organic Market and shrieked, “HEY, THERE IT IS!”
Unfortunately, my scream startled dad enough for him to swerve into a curb that had suddenly jutted out into the middle of the road. (Who put that there?) We ended up with a flat tire and had to wait in the MOM’s parking lot for my brother in law to come help us change the tire.
You’re probably wondering why I screamed when we passed MOM’s Organic Market. Well, growing up in Beltsville, MD in the 80’s, we shopped at conventional grocery stores like Giant and Safeway and A&P. We didn’t have markets like Whole Foods, and we certainly didn’t have our own local organic… Read the rest
Photo Restaurante Praia Arrifana ©
Michelle Cassar is a long-time reader of this blog and committed anti-plastic activist, although I’m not sure she would actually call herself an activist, nor anti plastic. She’s also a surfer, photographer, and world traveller who has been living in Portugal for quite a while. Back in 2011, she sent me a list of the over 10,000 plastic items she had refused since beginning her plastic-free life. And now, she’s helping others to refuse plastic by working with a local restaurant to eliminate plastic cups. Here is the story in her own words. Read, enjoy the beautiful photography, and be inspired!
(Por favor, vá para baixo para a versão Português.)… Read the rest
04/27/2018 Update: Sadly, in.gredients closed it’s doors today. But please read on, as this company was a great example of the first zero waste grocery store in the United States.
I’ve been dying to visit In.gredients since before the store even opened for business, and I profiled the company in my book Plastic-Free based on a telephone interview and articles I had read about a new packaging-free grocery store opening up in Austin, TX. So almost immediately after arriving in Austin yesterday afternoon, I headed over to this mythical zero waste grocery store to see if it was as awesome in real life as it had been described to me back when it was still in the planning stages. And you know what? It’s better.… Read the rest
We’re having a great time on Kaua’i (mosquito bites notwithstanding), and despite the ubiquitous polystyrene foam foodware, we’re discovering some great plastic-free resources. Upon arrival at our hotel, the concierge handed us a list of farmers markets on the island.
There’s at least one for every day of the week, which means we never have to worry about plastic produce packaging because we brought our own bags.… Read the rest
I attended the Plastic Pollution Coalition’s Think Beyond Plastics Competition conference two weeks ago and have been trying to find the time to sit down and write about it ever since! There were so many cool plastic-free innovators and activists there, I barely know where to begin. If you will recall from my previous post, the competition sought to reward and support creative start-up entrepreneurs working to be part of the plastic pollution solution. Such as…
Pulpworks was one of the grand prize winners. The company wants to replace the frustration of the plastic blister pack with a more eco-friendly option made entirely from recycled paper. Instead of this…
wouldn’t it be nice if, in situations where packaging is necessary, that packaging was made from compostable, 100% post-consumer waste paper?
As you can see, there isn’t even any glue in this package. Just paper pulp and cardboard.… Read the rest
Hey, remember my rant last spring about the plastic Turtleback cup holder meant to be used at the beach? And how I thought it was so ironic to name a product for a sea animal that is routinely harmed by ocean plastic pollution? A bunch of green bloggers created quite a stir on Turtleback’s Facebook page back then, and after initially being taken aback by it all, the owner, Ryan Housley, listened. In fact, he had an open mind from the very start.
Switching to Biodegradable Material
Yesterday, Ryan emailed me a link to the company’s new Kickstarter campaign. The campaign is to fund the development of Turtleback 2.0, a version made from biodegradable plastic (Mirel), a plant-based plastic that is certified to not only biodegrade on land but also in sea water. In fact, it is the only bio-plastic certified to break down in the ocean, as far as I know, and it has also been tested by the folks at the Algalita Marine Research Institute, whose mission… Read the rest
I had lunch today with Pam Marcus, the founder of Lifefactory, a company that makes reusable glass water bottles and baby bottles. She is also one of the organizers of the Plastic Pollution Coalition’s “Think Beyond Plastic Innovation Competition.” There is a $50,000 prize at stake for the best idea for reducing plastic pollution, whether it’s the invention of a new material or a technology or a process or… whatever. And I got to thinking… what will it really take for us to reverse this mess we have gotten ourselves into?
Look, it’s all well and good for us to reduce the amount of plastic we personally use in our daily lives. And that has been my project for my own life, and this blog, and my talks, and my book for over 5 years. But are our personal actions enough to stem the tide of new plastic that is being dumped onto the earth every day? Are they even enough to keep each of us safe from toxic chemicals… Read the rest