A recent study in the journal Science Advances and subsequent coverage found that 9 billion tons of plastics have been created since 1950. To date, only 9 percent has been recycled. The vast majority—79 percent—is accumulating in landfills or in the natural environment as single-use plastic litter. Meaning at some point, much of it ends up in our oceans, the final sink. The prediction that by 2050 the oceans will contain more plastic waste than fish, ton for ton, has become a rallying cry to do something about it.
Alarmed by these statistics, a new City of Santa Cruz Environmentally Acceptable Food Packaging and Products law was passed. The revised ordinance requires food service businesses to change all to-go food service items to those that are biodegradable, compostable or recyclable in the city’s recycling program. This includes food containers, beverage lids, cutlery and straws. The new law goes into effect November 7, 2017.