Community Environmental Council of Santa Barbara Hosts Talks on Impacts of Plastics and Emerging Alternatives
Every few months the Community Environmental Council, one of Santa Barbara’s most prominent and active environmental organizations, hosts a breakfast lecture and discussion featuring thought leaders and innovators who come together to speak on a theme. On May 31st, 2012, the CEC brought together a group of community leaders to speak on the topic of plastics and their impacts on the local and global environment.
The CEC’s own Kathi King spoke first, highlighting the significant problems faced by a world addicted to plastics. Kathi made it clear to all in attendance that while significant gains are being made in the efforts to reduce plastic waste, such as the recent Santa Barbara and Los Angeles plastic bag bans, there is still much work that needs to be done.
Professor Dawn Osborn from Antioch University spoke next bringing attention to the substantial plastic waste and debris accumulating at various UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Mexico. Her insightful talk also covered the unknown effects of plastic debris on endangered sea turtles and the powerful role of education as a tool for change.
Rounding out the mornings talks was Ron Blitzer, CEO & President of Be Green Packaging, a local Santa Barbara company that manufactures recyclable and biodegradable packaging for the food and consumer industries. Ron presented the story of his company which highlighted their plant fiber packaging as a very real and functional alternative to traditional plastic packaging. Ron talked about the benefits of plant fiber packaging, the company’s extensive list of eco-social certifications, the current success of various partnerships with companies like Whole Foods Market and Gillette (P&G), and the biggest hurdles Be Green faces in trying to compete with cheap plastic packaging. Ron also spoke about Be Green’s new domestic manufacturing facility in Jasper County, South Carolina– the first non-tree plant fiber packaging manufacturing operation in North America.
As always, the event was a resounding success, encouraging thoughtful discussion on events theme of plastics and their eco-social context and impacts.