Last October, Milwaukee banned plastic straws. A few weeks ago, a Milwaukee alderman called for a ban on plastic bags. A few days ago, the Milwaukee Brewers and SC Johnson teamed up to reduce plastic cup waste at Miller Park. Now, in what miiiiiight be something of a pattern, a Milwaukee County supervisor is calling for the elimination of single-use “forever plastics” in Milwaukee County facilities and parks.
“We must take immediate steps now to reduce the amount of forever plastics in our waterways,” says Supervisor Marina Dimitrijevic in a press release. “Milwaukee County should be a leader on environmental sustainability issues and that starts with taking action and getting our own house in order.”
To that end, Sup. Dimitrijevic has introduced a resolution to “reduce or eliminate single-use plastic products and polystyrene foam” at Milwaukee County facilities. Supervisor Marcelia Nicholson is a co-sponsor of the policy.
“I’m proud to co-sponsor this plan that starts with our county-owned operations, then expands to contracts and places we support,” says Sup. Nicholson in a press release. “We will be the largest county in the state to lead on clean waterways for our future. We must take these steps now to ensure a clean planet for generations to come.”
Among other things, the proposed resolution calls on “Milwaukee County to reduce or eliminate single-use plastic products and polystyrene foam distributed by entities on property owned, operated or supported by Milwaukee County.” Specifically, the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Culture is asked to “reduce its provision of single-use plastics and polystyrene foam in 2020, with a goal of reaching 50 percent reduction upon final adoption” of the resolution. A full, 100-percent elimination is proposed for 2021.
The resolution continues:
The Director of Sustainability, working in conjunction with the Office of Corporation Counsel, is requested to draft language that could be added to future contracts with applicable vendors on the County’s policy related to single-use plastic and polystyrene foam. The Director of Sustainability is requested to communicate this policy and the future potential contract language to County administrators that oversee agreements to encourage vendors to begin complying with the policy in advance of contract renewals. The Director of Sustainability is requested to notify all County contract holders of the contents of this resolution and, in the case of long-term leases, the potential for contract language to be added upon renewal.
“Some will say that requiring county vendors to eliminate single-use plastics will burden these businesses with extra costs,” says Sup. Dimitrijevic in a press release. “The reality is that taxpayers have been subsidizing these businesses by absorbing their environmental impact costs in the form of plastic-filled waterways and waste management fees. Twenty-two million pounds of plastic enter our Great Lakes every year, and it’s on us to lead the way in tackling that problem.”
Advocacy group Milwaukee Riverkeeper is also on board with the proposal, saying “Milwaukee Riverkeeper, as a member of the Plastic Free MKE Coalition, is in favor of this measure to reduce the use of single-use plastic and polystyrene foam products in Milwaukee County and appreciates Supervisor Dimitrijevic’s efforts to take on this issue.”