San Francisco, CA passed the Plastic, Toxics and Litter Reduction Ordinance this week as a result of years of work by many stakeholders. The ordinance bans the sale and distribution of single-use plastic and bio-plastic straws (with exemptions for those who need them) plus utensils, stirrers, and similar items, in addition to foodware containers that contain fluorinated chemicals. The ordinance further requires that all single-use foodware and accessories must be compostable (accepted by the city’s composting program) or recyclable.
The Last Plastic Straw (a project of Plastic Pollution Coalition) first advised Surfrider San Francisco’s “Plastic Straws Suck” campaign in February 2015 before collaborating with the SF EPA on a toolkit for plastic straw campaigns later that year. When SF Supervisors were considering a plastic straws ordinance in 2016, PPC and TLPS wrote letters of support.
In June, Pier 39 made a commitment to go plastic straw free and to screen STRAWS, a short film featuring The Last Plastic Straw, to millions of visitors all summer long. Along with other stakeholders, TLPS continued to support and share best practices on plastic reduction ordinances with Supervisor Katy Tang’s office before speaking in support for the ordinance with member organizations. PPC and TLPS signed another letter of support created by PPC member UPSTREAM in favor of the ordinance on June 16 before attending a rally and press conference at City Hall on the same day.
“At a time when we are fighting to protect our coastlines from offshore drilling and risk of oil spills, our communities are actively participating in a form of an oil spill from land,” said Jackie Nuñez, founder of The Last Plastic Straw, at the SF Supervisors Land Use Committee meeting in support for the ordinance. “We need to demand a change and take responsibility for our waste. It is time we grow up so that our future generations can.”