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Push Against Single-Use Plastics Gaining Momentum with Upcoming Ballot Initiative

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) -- Littered along highways, scattered around trash cans and all over our beaches, plastic is everywhere. And there's growing evidence that more and more of it is even making its way into our bodies.

But the pushback against plastic -- particularly single-use plastic packaging -- is growing. And it is an issue on which every Californian will have a say later this year.

"So we try to do the best that we possibly can to promote compostable and biodegradable products," says Sean Boyd of Red Whale Coffee in San Rafael, where every effort is made to keep the products as green as possible.
"Even our flatware is compostable," Boyd said. "When we can get them."
Marin County is on its way to asking that of every restaurant. This week, supervisors moved ahead with an ordinance that would push all restaurants towards sustainable packaging. It's a move that was years in the making.
"Yeah, we are really, really glad that this ordinance is finally going through," explained 7th grader Viola Seda.
The plan was launched by Seda and classmate Reese Patton back when they were in 3rd grade.
"We started with plastic straws, because I saw a bunch of videos of sea turtles with straws stuck in their noses," said Patton. "And I wanted to act."
"This is an issue that is rating above climate change as a concern among voters across California," said Jay Ziegler of the Nature Conservancy. "They see that we are drowning in plastics from Lake Tahoe to the beaches of Marin and San Francisco. They are fed up, and they want to do something about it."
The Nature Conservancy is supporting an even larger single-use plastic initiative, one every voter in California will have a say on later this year.
"There is an initiative on the November ballot California in the lead," Ziegler explained. "It requires a 25% reduction in simplest plastic waste; the straws, the bottles and the like."
It may be a goal widely embraced by Californians, but it won't be easy.
"Some stuff is out eight months, if not more," Boyd said of product delays. "A lot of the stuff comes from overseas."
Staying green has become incredibly difficult because of supply chain issues and inflation.
"One box, one case of let's just say cold cups, those are upwards of close to $200 at Costco," Boyd said. "Before they used to be under $100."
But still, he is committed, and hopes the plan, in the long run, will work out.
"Hopefully it's a bigger picture with stuff that will support it on the back end," Boyd says of Marin's plan. "Not just pay you guys have to do this you're going to get fired or whatever. Small businesses, as it is, or having a hard time with everything that's going on."
There are quite a few complexities to this. For example, biodegradable doesn't necessarily mean compostable. It's possible that Marin's ordinance could be set aside for more changes, before a final vote.
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