By 2050, there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish, according to a report by the World Economic Forum. If we don't act now, we'll be seeing a lot more of this and this. (Warning: GRAPHIC CONTENT) With so many alternatives to plastic available, it's frankly ridiculous to me how we still use plastic on a daily basis. In fact, unless you have some sort of disability, there's really no reason you need a straw. Also, plastic straws can last HUNDREDS OF YEARS. Just think: that straw you used to drink that milkshake last week is going to OUTLIVE YOU. Years after you die, that plastic straw will still be around wreaking havoc to the environment. And that goes for plastic cutlery too! Single-use utensils can take up to 1,000 years to decompose. 

> Note: The ban would apply to single use cutlery, while some plastic straws would be on hand in case anyone with disabilities need them.

California already has measures in place to prevent restaurants from giving out plastic straws. Why not let that measure extent to schools too? In the cafeteria when I buy lunch, I get a plastic spork and a plastic straw ALL WRAPPED IN A PLASTIC BAG. Seriously?! If 100 kids buy lunch every day at my school, that's 3 pieces of plastic trash per person, totaling out to 300 pieces of plastic waste, most of which will end up in landfills or the ocean. And that's just the amount of plastic that would be used in ONE DAY! If this trend continues every day for the entire school year, that totals up to... wait for it... 54,000 PIECES OF PLASTIC. And that's just for one school!

If each one of the 10,588 schools in California has 100 students that buy lunch every day for the entire school year (~180 days), that adds up to 571,752,000 PIECES OF PLASTIC PER YEAR. 

PROOF THAT WE CAN DO THIS: Here is a CASE STUDY that not only proves switching to reusables is better for the environment, it also proves that it's more cost-efficient!

Summary of their findings:

As a result of the switch to reusable items, the schools:

  • prevented 6,712 pounds of trash
  • expect to save $23,000 over three years

And that's not all. The environmental footprint of manufacturing the stainless steel reusable utensils:

  • reduced greenhouse gases by 77%
  • water consumption by tens of thousands of gallons

I'm asking Gavin Newsom and the California Board of Education to switch to more more sustainable alternatives to disposable plastics, such as biodegradable, reusable, and plant-based materials. Ideally, switching to reusables would be best, but as there are concerns about the virus right now, perhaps we could start with a plant-based, biodegradable alternative. Please sign my petition today so we can make it happen!

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