Whole Earth Festival successfully completed its 43rd year this past weekend, once again allowing the people of Davis and our visitors to shamelessly glisten with sweat as we danced barefoot on the grass (glass-free) and freely exchanged cash for goods we could take home without making yet another contribution to the demise of a free society.
Yet, the best benefit Whole Earth bestows upon our campus and the greater Davis community is a glimpse of sustainability at a seemingly unattainable standard fully realized in all its re-usable, re-cyclable and re-plicable glory.
Whole Earth Festival shows us that zero-waste can be a reality, and we hope that the City of Davis will take this message and run with it to the compost bins and the recycling facilities.
Despite our earthy and green reputation given to us by our knack for bicycling and farmers markets, and supported by the University’s commitment to sustainability, there is a lot the city could do yet to actually live up to it.
Let’s start with the basics. No business should still be distributing Styrofoam anymore. Ever. Businesses still using plastic to-go boxes should switch to the paper boxes more and more downtown restaurants have already begun to utilize. Businesses that do use recyclable materials but cannot or do not recycle them should find a way to do so immediately.
More easy steps: Plastic bags need to be phased out. The best way to do that is for everyone to have reusable bags, and if you forget them (it happens) ask for paper instead. There is also no reason for anyone to buy plastic water bottles anymore. You’re wasting your money, and most of the time you’re drinking tap water anyway. You can even combine environmental sustainability and literacy by purchasing a $5 reusable bottle from the Shields Library.
And if businesses or individuals want to go the extra mile, they should look into composting. They can learn more about compost from campus’s Project Compost, whose members offer workshops and voluntarily devote their time to picking up trash around campus and take it to be composted on the Student Farms. Thanks, guys!
Campus is ahead of the city, minimizing the use of plastic bags in the Bookstore and participating in composting in the ASUCD Coffee House. Though there is still a long way to go, campus is already on the track to being waste-free by 2020.
At the rate the City of Davis is going, it will lag far behind campus in achieving the same goal. If Davis businesses need some incentive to catch up, let’s give them some. Encourage those businesses that currently do not use recyclable materials to start, and support those that already do.
It’s time the City of Davis puts their money where their mouth is, and customers should be doing the same.