In effect: California State University’s Single-Use Plastics Ban

Although some CSU campuses across the state implemented their own initiatives against wasteful consumer practices in early 2018, such as San Diego, Humboldt and Northridge, the CSU system now has a single-use plastics policy in effect since December 17, 2018.

What does this policy address?

“Campuses shall establish purchasing practices that assure, to the maximum extent economically feasible, the purchase of single-use plastics including plastic straws, plastic water bottles, and plastic bags are eliminated.

Purchase preference shall be given to reusable products, followed by locally compostable and/or recyclable products.

Procurement, auxiliaries, and all relevant stakeholders will work with campus sustainability staff to assess and select the most sustainable alternatives.”

CSU Single-Use Plastics Policy 5236.00

In short, the policy is ensures that all CSU campuses will:

  • Eliminate single-use plastic water bottles by January 1, 2023
  • Eliminate plastic straws no later than January 1, 2019
  • Eliminate single-use polystyrene (e.g. STYROFOAMTM) food service items no later than January 1, 2021 (SDSU already achieved this!!)
  • Replace single-use plastic items with materials that are reusable, locally compostable and/or recyclable

San Diego State University banned single-use polystyrene products campus-wide in 2016, and the Enviro-Business Society led the initiatives to limit the accessibility of single-use utensils in Aztec Shops Ltd. and the installation of “hydration stations,” which has saved hundreds of thousands of single-use bottles.

Despite this beneficial statewide policy, it is still imperative that we all start or continue to eradicate single-use products on an individual scale.

A few tips to reduce daily plastic use:

  1. Bring your own shopping bag to the grocery store
  2. Stop buying bottled water, use a refillable bottle!
  3. Bring your own thermos to coffee shops!
  4. Choose cardboard over plastic bags (like Costco)
  5. Absolutely say NO to PLASTIC STRAWS and PLASTIC UTENSILS!
  6. Avoid toothpastes and face-washes with MICROPLASTICS (polypropylene and polyethylene)
  7. Eat all of your food or bring a reusable container to restaurants!
  8. Say NO to disposable razors
  9. Make your own juices instead of buying plastic bottles
  10. Give up GUM – gum is made up of synthetic rubber (plastic)

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of ways we can eradicate plastic from our lives. I strongly encourage you to start small, and it will become a rewarding habit rather than a nuisance! Have a plastic-free day!

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