This post is in support of the new weekly WordPress event inspired by prophetic words written in 1971 by Dr. Seuss in his book – The Lorax …
” UNLESS . . . someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
The topic for the week is about plastic waste, and this blog post highlights 3 ideas from local citizens at the Marina Farmers Market (Monterey County, California) to reduce plastic waste and divert trash from going to landfills.
1. Bring your own coffee cups and take out containers, whether buying from your favorite coffee shop or at the farmers market.
Michael, pictured at left, brings his own mug when buying coffee to reduce plastic waste (because even coffee shops that offer non-plastic cups often use plastic lids).
Bringing his own coffee mug is part of his daily habit — and started about 3 years ago. He now works in Marina and originally studied Environmental Science at California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB), so already knew about the amount of plastic trash individual consumers contribute to our waste stream.
2. Support practices that reduce waste and diverts trash from going to landfills.
Darrell, pictured at center, is a student at CSUMB. In addition to working at the farmers market coffee stand (Hidden Fortress Micro Farms), he also works at the university’s coffee shop, where he reports that along with recycling bins, they have ordered portable, easy to maneuver compost bins to further divert trash from going to landfills.
Michael and Darrell brought up that Marina mayor, Bruce Delgado brings his own food containers at local restaurants when ordering “to go” …a great way for town leaders to set an example of small things we can do to reduce trash.
3. If you own a business that offer “to go” food and beverages, encourage customers to bring their own containers by offering discounts.
Amelia, pictured at right, owns this Eco-friendly farmers market coffee stand. Her company sells coffee and teas at several Monterey and Santa Cruz County farmers markets.
She uses compostable cups, lids and coffee bags to reduce plastic waste, and beyond that, she also promotes habits that reduce trash by offering a discount of $.25 per cup of coffee if you bring your own coffee mug to buy beverages from her farmers market coffee stand.
Amelia set up her business with earth-friendly actions in mind. From the Hidden Fortress Micro Farms website:
…Our coffee operation is entirely solar-powered. We have a mobile solar generator (mounted on the farm’s pickup truck) that provides power for our coffee bar. Our coffee roaster, located at the farm, runs on propane and solar power.
The group agreed that just as we are all accustomed to bringing our cell phones with us when we leave our home, we can also make a habit to bring our reusable containers when we head out for the day.
This is a habit I am working on, and my goal this year to keep a set of reusable food containers in the car. I hate ending up with food packaging and containers — especially polystyrene / styrofoams which some towns allow, but typically cannot be recycled — when I order “to go”.
Note: Another local business — Gayles Bakery & Rosticceria — communicates via their web and radio advertizing to bring food containers for take-out orders to reduce food packaging trash.
To encourage a shift in habits, they offer a weekly $100 gift card drawing for customers who bring their own bags, food containers or mugs for take-out food.
I recommend viewing their environmental policy page to get ideas of how businesses and consumers can work together to reduce plastic and food packaging waste.
Most of us order food “to go” or take home leftovers from restaurants. Shifting our habits when we buy our coffee or bringing our own food containers for take out can make a big difference in reducing, and eliminating plastic waste.
“We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make which, over time, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee.”
— quote from Marian Wright Edelman, founder of Children’s Defense Fund
To take part in this timely WordPress challenge topic and to see other submissions for the theme click here.
Thank you to JustAnotherNatureEnthusiast.org for creating a place to share ideas about “resources and actions…for nature’s sake”.