Forging Forth into the New Year

Thursday, 05 February 2015

Contents:
- Server crash
- California vs. Big Plastic
- NYC EPS Ban

Hello fellow ocean lovers!

We apologize if you felt the absence of our usual monthly newsletter last month. We finally got quite a bit of (much needed) rain here in California at the end of the year, but with all those storms, we lost power a few times. Unfortunately, during one of those power outages, the mail server responsible for delivering our newsletters suffered a hard drive crash. We've been working diligently to cobble it back together, but it looks as if it needs to be replaced.

We know that many of you like our simple homegrown newsletters, and we plan to continue that tradition. We don't want to pay a service to do that job for us -- we'd rather dedicate all our financial resources to COARE's ocean mission. To that end, we're asking for contributions (monetary or computer server hardware) to help us replace the COARE servers. We don't need anything super fancy. It's replacing a system that's worked well for more than ten years! So if you can donate an old computer or some money we can use to buy one, we will be extremely grateful!

Please use the donate link to send contributions:
      https://www.coare.org/give/
. . . or contact info@ to arrange a hardware donation.

California vs. Big Plastic

As we reported in our September newsletter, California made history and set an incredible precedent when Governor Jerry Brown signed into law the first ever statewide ban on single-use plastic bags in the United States.

Naturally, since this is so precedent-setting, the plastic industry is not taking this lightly, and has been spending millions of dollars to create a referendum to overturn the measure:
      http://cal-access.sos.ca.gov/Campaign/Committees/Detail.aspx?id=1372902&session=2013&view=late1

In order to have the issue brought to a ballot vote, the industry has been scrambling to gather signatures from voters. Polls show that most Californians are in support of a ban, so signature gatherers were being paid upwards of *five* dollars for *each* signature they collected. As a result, the signature gatherers were resorting to duplicitous measures, and in some cases, complete misrepresentation, to mislead voters into signing the petitions.

If you have experienced or seen such nefarious activity, please let us know as we may be helping build an official complaint to the Secretary of State, whose office is now tallying and verifying the reported signatures.

Otherwise, please stay tuned, and we'll keep you updated.

NYC EPS Ban

It's hard to believe that it was a little more than a year ago that we helped pass the ban on food service expanded polystyrene (EPS) in New York City. (EPS is commonly referred to as "styrofoam(tm)".) An estimated 23,000 tons of foam are thrown away in New York City each year (and if you think about how light a foam cup is, and how many it must take to create a ton, the enormity of the problem seems overwhelming). However, we're thrilled to announce that that will be a thing of the past starting this July!

You may recall how excited we were when we reported that our Executive Director's testimony and the amendments we helped craft led the city council to its remarkable unanimous 51-0 decision.

One of the amendments that helped assuage councilmember concerns included a provision that granted the industry one year to try to prove that EPS could be recycled, and if so, instead of a ban, a citywide recycling program would be instated.

The industry went to great lengths and made enormous expenditures in an attempt to make plastic foam appear recyclable, but in the end, what we all know to be true was finally declared.

At the end of the "trial period", the City's Sanitation Commissioner and the Mayor finally declared EPS unrecyclable, so now the meat of our ordinance finally takes hold, and beginning July 2015, expanded polystyrene foodware will no longer be permitted in New York City. NYC is the largest city in the world to ban EPS, and saying goodbye to 23,000 TONS of foam is, indeed, a great way to start the new year!

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Wishing you healthy oceans,
Your friends at COARE

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