Starting April 25, the Berkeley Farmers’ Market will be the first in the nation to eliminate the use of plastic bags and packaging from its three weekly markets.
Ben Feldman, program manager of the Berkeley Farmers’ Market, said that the move was in step with the markets’ zero-waste campaign which aims to reduce and recycle plastic materials and to recycle and compost all waste products generated at the markets.
“Plastic is a serious problem in our environment,” he said. “It’s pervasive and finds a way into waterways, killing animals which eat the plastic. We decided to take a proactive step to reduce waste by eliminating plastic bags and packets.”
Feldman said that customers were being encouraged to bring their own bags during their shopping trips to the markets or buy the markets’ compostable starch-based bags made from GMO-free corn.
Other farmers’ markets in the country have banned either plastic bags or packaging.
The Farmer’s Market in Boulder, Col. was the first in the nation to initiate a zero-waste campaign.
The Monterey Farmers’ Market has phased out plastic bags, but not plastic packaging.
Closer to home, the San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market is working to phase out plastic bags.
In conjunction with Berkeley’s Earth Day Celebration, the Saturday, April 25 market will hold a zero-waste event from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Center Street at Martin Luther King, Jr. Way.