Mystic Seaport Museum launches plan to nix single-use plastics
Mystic — Visitors to Mystic Seaport Museum will soon find paper shopping bags, plant-based straws and paper to-go containers instead of plastic or foam, as the museum looks to set an example of sound environmental stewardship.
The museum in a news release Friday announced the launch of a program to rid its 19-acre site of single-use plastics, a move that some Connecticut towns have undertaken and state lawmakers have considered in various forms, including bans or taxes on plastic bags.
Led by the museum's Sustainability Committee and in collaboration with the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Md., the museum program will replace single-use plastics with ecofriendly alternatives while "making changes across the museum grounds to enable visitors to reduce plastic consumption and recycle more effectively," the museum said in its release.
"Both of our museums are situated on estuaries, which brings with it the responsibility to be stewards of the water and shoreline that provide so much for our institutions," Mystic Seaport Museum President Steve White said. "We recognize the gravity of our role in shedding light on the human impact on ocean health, and we believe in doing our part to help change that impact in a positive direction, and to set a standard among maritime museums and surrounding communities."
The Sustainability Committee began meeting in early 2018 at White's direction to seek financially sustainable, positive changes to the museum's impact on the environment that could "energize the public to adopt similar practices," the museum said.
Working with food-service partners Coastal Gourmet and Event Network, the museum will use paper bags, plant-based straws and stir sticks made of pasta, paper serving ware and to-go containers, and wooden utensils, plant-based cups or rented china, glasses and cutlery for catered events.
Plastic lids and straws will be available upon request, and customers can purchase nautical-themed reusable shopping bags made from 100-percent recycled plastic water bottles.
Mystic Seaport Museum and the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum will give a joint presentation on the program at the 2019 Council of American Maritime Museums annual conference in Manitowoc, Wis., in April.