UCLA Will be Plastic-Free Campus by 2023
The UC campuses are phasing out single-use plastics as part of a bold commitment to achieve zero waste to landfill, furthering their long-established sustainability goals. The new addition to the UC Policy on Sustainable Practices will transition all UCs away from plastic bags in retail and dining locations and eliminate single-use plastic foodservice items and beverage bottles. UCLA has taken this a step further by passing their own policy with accelerated goals to eliminate single-use plastics from campus months or even years in advance.
The purpose of this policy is to facilitate the transition from single-use plastics to reusable or locally compostable alternatives. Reusables constitute any materials that are durable and intended for multiple uses, such as metal or bamboo. Locally compostable means products that are accepted by the University’s waste hauler, Athens Services, which includes 100% fiber-based products, but does not include bioplastics. In regards to water and beverage bottles, the goal is to eliminate plastic options altogether by switching to aluminum, glass, or paper. The timeline for removing single-use plastics is shown below.
UCLA Sustainability, in collaboration with other UC campuses, is working on an implementation guide to help our community transition away from single-use plastics. This guide will be made available here by December 1, 2021.
January 1, 2021
- Plastic bags
- Plastic foodware accessory items (utensils, straws, lids etc.)
- Plastic foodware items (containers, cups, etc.) at all to-go facilities
- Plastic water and beverage bottles at all indoor events with fewer than 100 attendees
October 1, 2021
- Plastic water and beverage bottles from foodservice facilities and all indoor and outdoor meetings and events
- Plastic foodware items at all dine-in and to-go facilities with indoor and/or outdoor seating
September 1, 2023
- Plastic water and beverage bottles in all vending machines on campus property
Plastic-Free is a Global Solution
Single-use plastics are a global problem that requires systemic changes to mitigate the negative effects to oceans, wildlife, and human health. Despite our best efforts to recycle, only a small fraction of all plastics end up being recycled and each time their quality depreciates until it can no longer be used at all. Billions of tons of plastic end up in the oceans polluting waterways with chemicals, killing wildlife, and eventually ending up in our food, water, and air. The best solution is to eliminate single-use plastics and prevent them from entering our planet in the first place.