Carlsbad Plans to Reduce Plastic Use

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Photo from Carlsbad Food Tours

The Carlsbad street sign shines bright at night. Carlsbad Village is banning all one-use plastics like, straws, bags, utensils and more.

A one-use plastic ban that will go into effect July 2023 was announced by the Carlsbad City Council in Dec. 2021.

The items being banned are plastic forks, knives, spoons, straws and bags. Since these plastics are being banned, restaurants must start to use paper products instead. Even though most restaurants in the Carlsbad Village already use paper straws, this will still be a change for the city. 

A large landfill is piled up. So many plastics are put into landfills that they become overloaded. (Photo from The Institution of Medical Sciences)

“Getting rid of plastics is important because it’s really filling up the landfills and it’s getting everywhere, it’s really bad for the environment and for the animals,” Environmental Club president Aria Phan said. 

Plastics are created from fossil fuels that are extracted from the Earth. About 88.4 million barrels of fuel every day are being extracted from the Earth. The use of all of these fossil fuels for gas, energy and more is causing pollution to get into the air. The result: climate change. 

“A lot of people consider climate change a change in the weather but it’s affected the animals more than humans,” Phan said. 

With all of this plastic being used, over 27 million tons of plastics end up in landfills every year. Nearly 100 million animals are killed by plastic every year alone. Over 1,200 species are affected by plastics, from marine animals to birds. Every species of seabird has eaten plastics, with stomachs so full of plastic that they don’t have the urge to eat, making them die from starvation. This is a call to action locally and globally. 

Freshman Georgia Scherrer has taken part in the plastic-free movement. She finds the impacts of plastic production to be detrimental.

“When we create [plastics] it’s not the only problem, they are not being discarded properly which is also contributing to our pollution factor and it’s just making more landfills,” Scherrer said. 

Carlsbad’s first step into the ban is reducing greenhouse gas levels. Republic Services will be starting the Sustainable Materials Management Implementation plan. This plan will significantly decrease greenhouse gases and will take a course of 2 years before the final product.

A turtle’s stomach is full of eaten plastics, thrown into the ocean. Items such as water bottles, meat containers, milk jugs, straws and more pollute ocean waters. (Photo from The Tropical Conservation Fund)

“[Banning Plastics] is good because it helps the environment,” environmentally aware student Victoria Hiersche said. 

Carlsbad Village is making environmentally conscious strides to ban these plastics. Even though the ban is still in the works, there will still be people that use them. The country will have to follow with national regulations to completely stop the use of plastics.

Regardless of local action, plastics are still in the equation. Some companies like Dow Chemical, Lyondellbasell, Exxon Mobil and more contribute more than 6% of plastics per year, each

“Yes I do think the city made a good choice, but there will still be companies that use them and it won’t stop at the source,”  Scherrer concluded. 

Beginning July 1, a year before the ban starts, Republic Services will be taking over waste-hauling services under a new contract. Food waste will be collected in kitchen food-scrap pails. This is just the start of an ongoing effort in Carlsbad.