MYSTIC — The Mystic Seaport Museum is launching a program to eliminate single-use plastics on its 19-acre site on the Mystic River.
The museum said that a staff Sustainability Committee in collaboration with the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Md., will develop and implement the program. The museums’ teams will share ideas, information, resources and the results of implementation efforts and will give a joint presentation at the 2019 Council of American Maritime Museums annual conference in Manitowoc, Wis., in April.
“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,” said Steve White, president of Mystic Seaport Museum. “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.”
Mystic Seaport Museum’s committee began meeting in early 2018 at the direction of White, who encouraged the committee to “make recommendations for financially sustainable, positive changes to the museum’s impact on the environment that also will inspire and energize the public to adopt similar practices,” according to a press release.
Going forward, the museum will supply paper shopping bags instead of plastic ones as well as provide for the purchase of reusable shopping bags made from 100 percent recycled plastic bottles. The museum has also switched to plant-based straws and beverage stir sticks made from pasta. Plastic straws and beverage lids will be available by request only. Plastic or foam takeout containers and serving ware have been switched to paper products. Catered events have switched to wooden utensils and plant-based cups or rented china, glasses and cutlery.
The museum’s move echoes a draft ordinance in Stonington to ban carry-out plastic bags and plastic straws, with certain exceptions, that was approved by the Board of Selectmen on Feb. 27. The ordinance will be brought to a vote at a town meeting, as yet unscheduled.