In Boone’s Words August 2017

At a very nice event on Thursday, July 27 at the Ed Roberts Building in Berkeley, The Ecology Center hosted four speakers on plastics and food. The theme for July was PLASTICS FREE JULY and the assembly was the culmination of a variety of events. Carollyn Box from the Five Gyres Science Program (whose founders were early disciples of the beloved Captain Charles Moore) spoke on all the recent data documenting plastics in the ocean, much of it microscopic (90% of the plastics in the ocean are smaller than a grain of sand), much of it becomes like a smog. It’s even scarier when you do autopsies on fish and shellfish. Arlene Blum, research scientist at UCB and head of the Green Science Policy Institute, leads of group of loosely affiliated scientists who study how materials in plastics get into the foodstream with cumulative effects. They have produced six four minute videos on the major problems in this area. Brenda, the Outreach Coordinator of the Plastics Solution Coalition (with which our friend and NCRA member Jackie Perez of The Last Plastic Straw has recently been adopted as a program) identified their goal (with 600 members) to refuse single use plastic and they are now testing an intervention program. Chemicals leach badly out of plastics is the uniform conclusion of all research. Samantha Sommer works for Clean Water Action as the Waste Prevention Program Manager, supporting Chris Slafter as field work director, and they have received grants and contracts to work with food sales facilities to reduce plastic packaging. A very impressive chart on cost savings and ROI time; ending plastics pays. 30-40 people in attendance; a good event. ARB


Martin Bourque announced at the Plastics session that the government of China had announced that day the end of all scrap imports at the end of this calendar year. This may throw West Coast market advantage for California collected materials in a tizzy but it could also help redevelop basic materials re-manufacturing here in our state. As you know, California is a major importer from other states of all basic materials: paper, glass, metals, plastics and wood. The plastics industry is probably ahead of all of these basic industries (except glass) in developing reprocessors within the state who can convert used goods into new ones. It will be interesting to hear from the brokers who move materials around the world how the Chinese decree will affect our West Coast markets. All those empty sea containers made China an easy market; now what?  ARB


Captain Reducer was a cartoon figure populating THE RECYCLER,  an occasional publication of the Campus Recycling Program at Humboldt State University, from at least 1991 where he gave advice of wasting less and recycling more. The Volume 12, #1 of Fall, 1999 of this journal is now in the Urban Ore collection of archival materials; if you have more copies of THE RECYCLER, let ARBoone or Susan Kinsella know how to acquire those copies.

REUSED OFFICE SUPPLIES: Boone is consolidating his workspace and has large supplies of used: file folders, 3 ring notebooks, paper printed on one side only and various other paper goods. Contact him at with your interests.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *