Sunday, November 15, 2015

Law orders use of disposable dishes at restaurants?!

If you are a person, you may have heard that California is currently facing one of its most severe droughts on record. In fact, it is entering its fourth year of this devastating drought. Governor Jerry Brown has imposed strict conservation measures statewide, including 35% reductions in the water use of private residences and increasing fines for "water wasters." Brown lawns, rather than pristine green lawns, have become the new socially acceptable norm. 
This photo was retrieved here.
However, you're reading a blog post from the Waste Reduction and Recycling Office. What does the drought have to do with waste reduction or recycling? Well, as a result of the drought, the city of Fort Bragg, CA, has ordered restaurants to use disposable plates, cups, and silverware to cut down on water use from dishwashing, and to only serve water to customers when asked.
This photo was retrieved here.
Businesses and residents alike have been mandated to reduce water use by 30%. City Council has, naturally, received harsh criticism from residents, and is going to re-review the order shortly. The critical issue this order brings to the surface is that there is a clear trade-off between eliminating waste by using China, or eliminating water use by providing disposable dishware. Which is worse for the natural environment? The answer would be extremely difficult to determine. Is this a cost-effective way to reduce water use? Jim Hurst, the co-owner of Silvers at the Wharf and Point Noyo Restaurant and Bar, said he expects the "expense is going to be horrendous." Another aspect of this debacle to consider is customer experience. People go out to dinner to have a special night, possibly even to celebrate an already special occasion. Plastic plates and silverware could kill a mood quickly, and restaurants across the city will suffer. Not to mention Fort Bragg's economy, being located directly on California's Pacific Coast, is based largely on tourism. At the end of the day, however, a significant amount of water would be saved if all of the restaurants in a city stopped washing dishes. Is it worth the cost to restaurants and customers alike? We'll have to wait for Fort Braggs to decide.

Booker, Brakkton. "California City Orders Restaurants To Use Disposable Plates, 
     Cups." NPR. NPR, 7 Oct. 2015. Web. 25 Oct. 2015.
Tufano, Linda. "California City Orders Restaurants to Use Disposable Plates, Cups." Latest 
     News8 Oct. 2015. Web. 18 Oct. 2015.