Action against plastic in Palo Alto

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Back to Article

Action against plastic in Palo Alto

PHOTO BY ALLI WESEMAN/THE PIONEER

PHOTO BY ALLI WESEMAN/THE PIONEER

PHOTO BY ALLI WESEMAN/THE PIONEER

By A.J. WOOD, CONTRIBUTOR

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Palo Alto became the first Bay Area city to ban plastic grocery bags in a decision on June 10, 2019.
The 6-0 approval of the ordinance, as reported by the Palo Alto Weekly, was part of a larger plan that includes a ban on disposable straws, as well as requirements for restaurants to provide reusable utensils for dining in.
Last year, San Francisco joined other major metropolitan cities, such as Seattle, and banned disposable plastic straws. More and more cities are making the decision to ban these single-use plastics, or begin charging for them, in order to get people to be more conservative in their use.
However, banning straws and other single use plastics would be a fruitless endeavor. We instead must hold fossil fuel producers, and other major corporate polluters accountable for their role in our planet’s continued decimation.
On average, people have three different waste receptacles that they put out on the curb every week. Typically the breakdown is; one trash can for lawn trimmings, one for recyclable materials, and one for trash that cannot feasibly be recycled. I would say that most people shudder at the idea of filling their lawn trimming or recycling can with greasy trash. If not for the assumed negative effect on the environment, at least to avoid the sneer of their local waste collector.
Since 1988, one hundred companies have been responsible for 70 percent of global carbon emissions, according to The Guardian. These major corporations lobby lawmakers and push marketing campaigns designed to obscure their role in our deteriorating global ecosystem.
While acknowledging that the city council of Palo Alto does not have the power to enact global environmental policy shifts, it is still notable how quickly laws and ordinances can be put into place when it is consumers that are footing the cost.