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“It’s a small part of a larger vision around sustainability,” park commissioner says.

The Minneapolis Park Board wants to banish disposable plastic straws, utensils, water bottles and other single-use plastics from the events it permits and hosts by requiring contractors to provide sustainable alternatives.

Park Board Commissioner Jono Cowgill raised the issue earlier this year in an effort to cut down on plastic waste and encourage other government agencies to do the same. If the proposal is adopted, the Park Board could stop allowing disposable plastics at large-scale events starting April 1, 2020.

“Plastics are detrimental to the environment. They get into everything: They get into our lakes, they get into our fish, they get into our water and storm sewer systems,” Cowgill said in a recent interview. “They’re everywhere, and they’re almost impossible to get away from.”

“If we’re ever going to get to a point where we are … consuming less disposable stuff,” he continued, “our larger institutions and public bodies, especially those that are supposed to be and are the environmental stewards of our public spaces, need to take bold steps to challenge ourselves to get away from those things.”

Single-use plastics are items used once before being tossed or recycled. A 2018 study showed 79% of all plastic waste is either in landfills or littered, ultimately ending up in oceans, according to National Geographic.

Locally, many of those items are found in parkland and on lakeshores, Cowgill said.

The Park Board probably would stop providing single-use plastic items such as utensils, bottles, straws, dishes, coffee lids and stirrers, according to a staff report. Those items would be replaced by compostable or biodegradable alternatives.

Original story from StartTribune

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