The City of Berkeley made headlines on Jan. 22 when the City Council approved a new ordinance, to be phased in over the next year and a half, aimed at prohibiting restaurants, including fast-food outlets, from using or offering disposable cups, straws, utensils and other foodware that are not compostable.
Less well-known is the key role played by Oxford Elementary School students who belong to a new school club, “Heirs to Our Oceans.”
“Community members and officials alike said they were inspired by a group of Oxford Elementary School students who came to the meeting to describe the importance of cutting down on disposable plastics,” Berkeleyside reported. “The students were able to reduce all their plastic waste to fit in a tiny bucket.”
Before the Council vote, Mayor Jesse Arreguin called the students’ comments “truly inspiring.” He said he had visited Oxford teacher Jackie Omania’s 3rd-grade Zero Waste Classroom and thanked Ms. Omania “for teaching our young people at such an early age about the devastating impacts that waste has on our environment and that we can all make a difference in our everyday lives to reduce waste and to protect our planet.”
“I was very impressed that the class was able to reduce all their waste into one Mason jar,” he said.
“If they can do it, we can do it,” he added.
Oxford’s Zero Waste classroom was featured in a San Francisco Chronicle article last year. The Berkeleyside article includes a photo of an Oxford student showing the Council the size of container that the classroom was able to fit its waste into.