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To: Teresa Constantinidis
Break Free From Plastic UNM
Dear Senior Vice President Constantinidis,
We are writing to request that you include a plan to phase out all non-essential, single-use plastic in the UNM 2040 initiative.
The impact of plastics on our planet is much more severe than polluting the ocean. Plastic production, use, and disposal increases the risk of large-scale environmental changes, is a primary driver of biodiversity loss, and produces massive amounts of greenhouse gasses which contributes to climate change.
It is impossible to “Protect the natural environment that supports all people of the state and the world” while UNM continues to consume the amount of single-use plastic that it does. In accordance with Goal 4 of the 2040 Initiative, we call for the following actions to be included in this plan:
1. Phase out the use of all non-essential single use plastic on campus. This includes, but is not limited to, water bottles, cups, lids, bags, cutlery, straws, and food containers. Collaborate with subcontractors to assist them in transitioning away from plastic. Recycling is not enough. The use of these products must be stopped completely.
2. Provide sustainable alternatives, not band-aid solutions. This means creating circular systems where food/beverage containers and utensils are continuously reused. Examples include expanding the OZZI box program to operate campus-wide and providing students with reusable water bottles and more filling stations.
3. Educate the campus community on the harms of plastic pollution and encourage change on a behavioral level.
Multiple universities have been able to accomplish this already. In a time where readily available and sustainable alternatives are available, it does not make sense to continue to consume single-use plastic. Something we use for only a few minutes should not impact our future for hundreds of years.
Thank you for your consideration of this issue.
Why is this important?
It is impossible to tackle the climate crisis without eliminating the use of single-use plastic.