Kudos to restaurants

To the Editor:

In 2016, the MDI-initiated A Climate To Thrive (ACTT) initiative committed to achieving local energy independence by 2030.

Deeply significant strides have been made thus far in projects promoting alternative energy, building efficiency, electric vehicle charging stations just to name a few.

Most recently, in an effort to encourage zero waste food management, ACTT has coordinated the launch of Sustainable MDI, a critical new initiative to help local restaurants, cafés and catering businesses reduce their use of plastics.

The importance of this work cannot be overstated. It is estimated that eight million tons of plastics are dumped into the world’s oceans every year, 50 percent of which will sink to the ocean’s bottom, permanently decimating our marine life.

In the U.S. alone, 500 million plastic straws are discarded annually. In fact, every human on the planet will dispose of approximately 300 pounds of single use plastic every year. By 2050, with an estimated population of 10 billion, the plastic consumption will triple.

The problem is that plastic never completely biodegrades into natural materials. It just slowly breaks into smaller and smaller toxic pieces that end up in our food chain.

Recycling seemed to be a partial solution, but after all these years, only 9 percent of plastic gets recycled. And now recycling has hit a major roadblock as China has stopped taking our plastic waste to recycle.

The Sustainable MDI pledge, accepted by more than 40 local restaurants, commits to three of six plastic reduction practices that include the following: Eliminating plastic straws and drink stirrers; phasing out all polystyrene (foam) to-go containers; abolishing use of plastic bags for to-go orders; using only reusable or compostable cups, plates, bowls and utensils; ceasing use of non-compostable plastic garbage bags, and composting all food waste and compostable restaurant ware.

Those establishments that have taken the pledge can proudly display the Sustainable MDI logo at their entrance. Eventually, it is the hope that all food-related businesses on the island will join the effort.

For those who feel passionately about saving our precious marine life and protecting our health and future, please express your gratitude to those restaurants that are working hard to eliminate the use of plastics.

This is not without added cost to them, and they are to be commended.

For more information, and to celebrate those that have taken the pledge, you are invited to visit: https://www.aclimatetothrive.org/mdi-pledge-businesses/.

Tina Rosenberg

Southwest Harbor

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