UCLA officials announced a plan Friday to phase out single-use plastics in its food-service operations.
Following a public-review period expected to begin in March, the effort could begin July 1 with the phasing out of plastic utensils, cup lids, bowls, plastic bags and other “food accessory” items.” Compostable or reusable alternatives will be offered on request, eventually shifting to solely reusable items.
According to the university, the policy will affect sit-down and take-out restaurants, dining halls, campus events and departmental meetings. It will also affect conferences, panel discussions, lectures, catered meetings, rallies and concerts on the campus.
The will eventually aim to eliminate single-use water bottles while increasing the number of water-refilling stations.
“UCLA is part of the larger culture shift moving away from wishful recycling,” Nurit Katz, the university’s chief sustainability officer, said in a statement. “Only a small percentage of plastic is successfully recycled despite decades of efforts nationwide and globally. By getting rid of single-use plastics, we will make the planet a little healthier and help Bruins approach their goal of zero waste.”
UCLA officials said the policy will be implemented ahead of a similar policy expected to be approved next week for the entire University of California system.
The university’s effort comes on the heels of a campaign by the UCLA chapter of the California Student Public Interest Research Group, which collected 1,900 signatures in support of the move and made a series of classroom presentation to raise awareness of the issue.