Last April 2017, hundreds of Alameda students (K-12) wrote letters to city leadership advocating for a “Straws on Request” policy at Alameda restaurants. This April 2018, thousands of students from schools across the city wrote letters to enforce this new local law.
Last year’s student letters, combined with broad community support, helped establish the Alameda Disposable Food Service Ware Ordinance that as of January 1, 2018, mandates all local restaurants and food businesses must only distribute:
- Paper or reusable straws on request
- Compostable, fiber-based packaging for any To-Go items
The ordinance also encourages establishments to use reusable foodware, which means real dishes, glassware, and silverware for dine-in customers.
As of July 1, 2018, this ordinance will be fully enforced by the city. More information about the new ordinance can be found at www.alamedarecycles.org
However, we all know such enforcement will take time and may not happen overnight. Our students are also learning the important lesson that their voices really do matter. Thanks to their participation last spring in Zero Waste Alameda initiatives, progress towards a plastic-free Alameda is now underway.
This last April, students (K-12) were asked to help enforce what they started last year by writing a letter to one of their favorite local restaurants. The goal of this campaign is to encourage food business owners and managers to do their part in eliminating single-use plastics, and replace these with reusable or compostable fiber-based packaging – by students using their own words, or pictures.
With over 620 letters received from more than 10 schools targeting 105 different Alameda food businesses inluding: McDonald’s, In-n-Out, Starbucks, Tomatina, Sushi House, La Penca Azul, The Alameda Theatre, iTea, Yogafina and many, many more. This strong response shows how our Alameda students continue to demonstrate their civic leadership, environmental literacy and basic understanding that if you believe in something and you speak out, you have the power to create real and true impact.
CASA and Zero Waste Alameda supported this year’s campaign effort, and will assist in distributing students’ letters to food businesses this May.
LETTERS STUDENTS WROTE TO THEIR FAVOURITE RESTAURANTS: