Capital City Ditches ­Single-Use Plastic

      Add the City of Annapolis to the list of localities working to reduce their plastic footprint. Mayor Gavin Buckley signed a pledge encouraging all Annapolitans to reduce or eliminate their use of single-use plastics.

         “We all know that there is far too much plastic waste. It’s in our landfills, in our waterways, polluting our oceans. We all have a responsibility to make the effort to reduce and eventually eliminate single-use plastics,” Buckley said.

         The campaign asks residents, visitors and businesses to voluntarily reduce throw-away plastic, including water bottles, plastic bags, straws, carryout containers and balloons. Many area businesses already made the switch to more environmentally friendly alternatives during a campaign this fall. Beginning December, more than two dozen businesses had signed on.

         Annapolis Green created and implemented the campaign on behalf of the city’s Office of Environmental Policy.

         “The world is drowning in plastic. Oceans and rivers are clogged with it, and a lot of the litter is made up of food and beverage containers,” said Elvia Thompson, Annapolis Green co-founder.        “We partnered with many Annapolis businesses at the start of this campaign because they can do a lot to keep our environment plastic-free by voluntarily changing some of their everyday practices to show their customers that they are good stewards of the environment. We are thrilled that Mayor Buckley is backing the campaign.”

         Annapolis Green provided businesses with a toolkit and online resources, including free social media promotion, newspaper advertisements and marketing tools.

         In 2018, Annapolis Green launched its Don’t Suck #SipResponsibly campaign, providing restaurants, bars and coffee shops with paper straws along with information about alternatives to plastic.

         “When we started our campaign to do away with plastic straws, we saw a wave of support on the part of restaurant patrons,” said Lynne Forsman, Annapolis Green co-founder. “Restaurant managers were quick to sign on with either a plastic straws upon request policy or a switch to paper or reusable straws, or no straw at all. They could see the tide turning against the 500 million plastic straws used and thrown away every day in the United States.”

         Plastic Free Annapolis is supported by a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration through the Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ Coastal Zone Management Office.

         But for a voluntary campaign like this to work, it needs your help. Start your new year with a resolution to ditch single-use plastic. Tell us your plan and how it’s working. Chesapeake Bay Magazine’s Bay Weekly is looking for stories for 2020: [email protected]