Santa Cruz County has had an impact on plastic pollution far beyond its local borders. As Tim Goncharoff, Zero Waste Coordinator for the County tells KSQD, local laws can inspire major corporate chains to do the right thing. For example, when banning small shampoo bottles from hotels, Santa Cruz managed to inspire Marriott’s leadership to ban them in all 17,000 of its hotels in the U.S.. Soon after, Hyatt followed suit. And when the County banned styrofoam cups at its four Starbucks within its juristiction, rather than deal with the hassle of creating new cups just for these four stores, Starbucks finally decided to ban them in all 25,000 of its cafes.
In this interview, Tim talks trash during Christmas and how to reduce one’s plastic footprint during the holiday season. Some hints: buy experiences, not stuff. If you need to buy stuff for people, wrap it in reusable cloth wrappers or decorate paper bags. Avoid plastic that is single use, and avoid buying things for people that will end up in the landfill. From Stanford University, here are a few fun facts:
Americans throw away 25% more trash during the Thanksgiving to New Year’s holiday period than any other time of year. The extra waste amounts to 25 million tons of garbage, or about 1 million extra tons per week!
If every family reused just two feet of holiday ribbon, the 38,000 miles of ribbon saved could tie a bow around the entire planet. If every American family wrapped just 3 presents in re-used materials, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields. The 2.65 billion Christmas cards sold each year in the U.S. could fill a football field 10 stories high. If we each sent one card less, we’d save 50,000 cubic yards of paper.