Community Projects

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Plastic Campaign

Earth Ethics, Inc. is working with several groups in an effort to educate the public on the impacts of plastics in our environment and with our public health. Nationally, steps are being taken to ban the use of plastic bags, bottles, and microbeads. We are working to educate individuals, organizations, and restaurants to stop the use of plastic straws. Contact earthethicsaction@gmail.com if your interested in helping with outreach and education efforts!

The Last Straw Campaign 

Did you know that over 500 million plastic straws are used daily worldwide? This is an average of 1.6 straws per person. Straws are made from natural resources including crude oil, natural gas, and coal which cannot be replaced once depleted.

What we are up to:

Our outreach and education campaign addresses plastic use and consumption, impacts to the environment, marine species, and public health.  To keep up to date on events, visit and like our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/earthethics

Here are 10 small things you can do to make a big difference!!

1. Bring your own cloth bag to the grocery store (or any store!).

Each year over one trillion plastic bags are used worldwide. Because these bags are so light and thin, they are easily carried by the wind out into the environment. Instead, use reusable bags to get your groceries and other purchases home. Preferably, use ones made of cotton. Some of the cheap one that you get at the grocery store contain plastic – and they aren’t usually as durable.

2. Kick the bottle – Stop using single-use plastic water bottles.

Buy and use a reusable bottle and fill with water. Opt for tap in restaurants.

3. Ditch the straws!

They’re unnecessary plastic. At a restaurant, tell your server that you don’t want a straw. At coffee shops, bring your own reusable cup for your iced coffee. If you really like using straws, you can buy ones made of glass or stainless steel. They also make paper straws and you could compost them when done.

4. Pack your own lunch for work or school.

Green your lunch with reusable drinking bottles, reusable sandwich bags, and snack containers. Just say no to soda bottles and prepackaged snacks in plastic baggies! Use a reusable cloth bag or old-fashioned steel lunch box to carry your lunch to work or school.

5, Reusable containers are rad!

When it comes to lunch and leftovers, ditch the plastic bag and use reusable containers instead. Reusable containers are just as easy to use and far less harmful to the planet. Store all your food in glass containers. If you purchase something bottled in glass, clean it and reuse it!

6. Rethink the drink!

We all know that reusable water bottles are the way to go, but what about other types of beverages?  Bring your own reusable steel or ceramic beverage container with soda (from Sodastream), juices, or coffee!

7. Whenever possible, buy food in bulk.

Buying food in bulk helps to reduce the total amount of packaging materials consumed. Many markets offer things like nuts, cereal, granola, in bulk. Just remember BYOBag!

8. Don’t buy plastic-wrapped produce.

I know, sometimes when you’re in a rush it’s easier to just grab a package of 3 bell peppers…but it’s unnecessary plastic. Bring your reusable produce bag and pick out your produce.

9. Recycle or Reuse Materials.

In those instance where you must us plastic, please make sure to recycle or reuse it.

10. Avoid products that use plastic to begin with.

Plastic is made from petroleum today hence it is so ubiquitous. Plastic is convenient, but most of the cheaper grades (the clear stuff) find its way into our food, often leaving a film or anything that is wrapped in it and which we then eat. Microwaving anything in plastic cooks plastic residues right into the food, vaporizing the food and other chemicals that contaminate air. (preventdisease.com)

Let’s all do our part to take care of the environment and ourselves!

In the News –

From USA Today –

A big food-service company with eateries at major U.S. college campuses, museums and other institutions is going to ban plastic straws and stirrers at all of its more than 1,000 locations in 33 states.

Bon Appétit Management said Thursday it will start phasing in the ban immediately and that it will be complete by September 2019. Then, it will offer paper straws to diners who have physical challenges or “strongly feel the need” for one.

Plastic straws have become an issue because they can foul beaches or waterways and, in most cases, aren’t really necessary for drinking. Americans use an estimated 500 million disposable plastic straws every day, according to Eco-Cycle, a Boulder, Colo.-based non-profit recycler.

McDonald’s is testing paper straws in the United Kingdom and putting plastic ones behind the counter, available only upon request. Last week, shareholders of the Oak Brook, Ill.-based burger chain voted against a proposal that called on the company to study the business risks of using plastic straws.

Bon Appétit, based in Palo Alto, Calif., bought 16.8 million plastic straws and close to 420,000 plastic stirrers in its fiscal year ended Aug. 31. Bon Appétit, now that its shift from plastic is getting underway, bought 9.1 million wooden stirrers.

“We thought, ‘We’ve got to do something about this.’ As many as we buy, we shouldn’t be doing this anymore,” Bon Appétit CEO Fedele Bauccio said. “We need an alternative.”

He added that the new straws are made of compostable cardboard-like material that doesn’t become mushy, the common complaint about paper straws. The company, currently deciding between two suppliers, knows either version will be more expensive than plastic ones but won’t pass the cost along to customers.

“We want to do the right thing for the environment,” Bauccio said. “Hopefully, this will spark other people in the industry to follow. … We are a large company and can set an example.”

Before its full ban takes place, Bon Appétit locations that run out of plastic straws are allowed to re-order them, the company’s chief strategy and brand officer Maisie Ganzler explained.

The inspiration for Bon Appétit’s ban came, in part, from the University of Portland in Oregon, where students worked to outlaw plastic straws on campus in April. Bon Appétit has a contract with the university, which is Bauccio’s alma mater.

The company’s other clients range from the Art Institute of Chicago and the Getty Museum in Los Angeles to the on-campus cafeterias at Vassar College and Washington University in St. Louis.

New York City is considering nixing plastic straws, as several cities, such as Miami Beach, Seattle and Malibu already have. Alaska Airlines is phasing out plastic stirrers on its flights.

On Monday, the European Union proposed new rules to reduce litter in the oceans, including a ban on single-use plastic items, including cutlery, plates, straws and drink stirrers.

Dianna Cohen, CEO of Plastic Pollution Coalition in Berkeley, Calif., commends Bon Appétit for the action it’s taking and pointed out that outlawing items people can easily live without is a first step.

“It’s a great beginning,” she said. “Plastic bags and plastic straws are the tip of the iceberg. Plastic straws really are a gateway into understanding this single-use kind of ethos that we’ve created and are living in.”

McDonald’s in the mix – plastic straws

https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2018/05/21/mcdonalds-being-sucked-into-movement-ban-plastic-straws/501242002/

McDonald’s board votes against a ban. (We are banning McDonald’s)

https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2018/05/24/mcdonalds-shareholders-vote-keep-plastic-straws/640916002/

Alternatives to plastic straws

https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/nation-now/2018/05/23/sustainable-alternatives-plastic-straws-recyling/632993002/

Alaska Airlines bans plastic straws

https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/flights/todayinthesky/2018/05/21/alaska-airlines-plastic-stirring-straws/627596002/

 

Let’s start a ban!

Surfside is one of only a handful of Florida cities, including Fort Myers Beach and St. Petersburg, to have banned plastic straws. Miami Beach enacted a partial ban in 2012 to stop vendors from giving straws to people on the beach, although the ordinance doesn’t apply to the rest of the city.

http://www.miaminewtimes.com/news/activist-pushes-miami-cities-to-follow-surfsides-ban-on-plastic-straws-10397989

 

Letters to the Editor 

Ban Plastic Bags

With the legislative session well underway, I am writing to encourage the residents and representatives of Northwest Florida to support HB93/S162 in order to give local governments the ability to protect their communities from the harmful impact of single-use plastics.

HB93/S162 would allow municipalities with populations under 100,000 to create a pilot program to regulate or ban disposable plastics. As I am sure you are aware, Florida lawmakers passed a bill in 2008 forbidding local governments from making their own policies regarding single-use plastics until the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) could create recommendations and those recommendations are adopted by the Legislature. The DEP made recommendations to discourage the use of single-use plastics, but the Legislature still has not adopted it.

There is a great deal of scientifically based information regarding the damage caused to wildlife and the environment by the plastic pollution. Our economy relies so much on tourism and ecotourism, the impacts of plastic pollution has been shown to have an adverse impact on this industry.

We urge you not only to support the current legislation, but we ask that local municipalities draft a resolution in support of HB93/S162. To date, over 25 communities in Florida have drafted and signed resolutions to this effect, including Pensacola.

– Mary Gutierrez, Executive Director, Earth Ethics and Earth Action, March 29, 2017

Legislature should act on bags bill

As a resident of Pensacola, I wanted to write to PNJ to encourage residents and representatives of Northwest Florida to support House Bill 93 and Senate Bill 162, which would allow municipalities with populations under 100,000 to create a pilot program to regulate or ban disposable plastics.

In 2008, a bill in Florida was passed forbidding local governments from making their own policies regarding single-use plastics until the DEP could create recommendations, and those recommendations were adopted by the Legislature. The DEP made recommendations to discourage the use of single-use plastics, but the Legislature still has not adopted them. So, at this point, even if every single voter in Escambia County voted on a plan to reduce the use of single-use plastics, we would not be able to put that plan into action as we wait on the Florida Legislature to do what they said they would do.

The Pensacola City council has already drafted a resolution in support of this bill. I urge everyone to contact their representatives at the state levels in support of HB93/S162. Let’s bring the authority to regulate our environment and economy back to the local level in Florida.

— Elizabeth MacWhinnie, Pensacola, Earth Ethics Inc. Board Member, April 2, 2017

Too much plastic

Everywhere we look, there’s plastic. It has infiltrated our lives in one way or another, medical equipment, laptops, cars, cookware, etc. It’s made life easier and we have become so accustomed to the presence of plastic that it is difficult to envision life without it. But we need to. I’m not talking about the use of plastic where it’s a proven benefit. I’m talking about single use plastic (bags and bottles), plastic cookware, plastic covering fruits and vegetables. Places where plastics is not needed. Plastics that have proven to be harmful to the environment and public.

We need to minimize the use of some plastics and eliminate the use of others. We need to ensure that the manufacturing of plastics is not adversely impacting the environment and public health. We can start by not using plastic bottles and plastic bags. Use canvas bags and reusable water containers instead.

We can work together to eliminate the use of plastics. Hawaii passed a plastic bag ban so have Portland, Oregon, and Chicago. St. Augustine, FL is currently working on a volunteer plastic bag ban, other cities have implemented plastic bag user fees. Let’s be part of the plastic purge!

— Mary Gutierrez, Pensacola, August 2016