CBMM launches single-use plastic free initiative
MICHAELS — The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum recently announced an initiative that will work toward eliminating single-use plastics at its Miles River campus in St. Michaels.
Single-use plastic is any item that is meant to be disposed of or recycled after one use. Examples include drinking straws, water bottles and Styrofoam containers.
The initiative is being implemented in collaboration with Mystic Seaport Museum in Mystic, Conn., with a goal to provide a benchmark for other maritime museums and their communities to replicate.
CBMM’s Sustainability Committee began planning for the project in early 2018, when CBMM President Kristen Greenaway asked the committee to prioritize eliminating single-use plastics on CBMM’s campus.
“CBMM is committed to the stewardship of the environment, particularly that of the Chesapeake Bay,” Greenaway said. “This is a groundbreaking initiative for maritime museums, and it positions CBMM and Mystic Seaport Museum in a national conversation around plastics and, particularly, our waterways.”
CBMM will host two informational sessions about the initiativ,e at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 16, and 3 p.m. Thursday Jan. 17, in its Van Lennep Auditorium, with reservations taken at bit.ly/cbmmsustain.
“Awareness is the first step towards informed action,” said CBMM Director of Education Jill Ferris, who heads the Sustainability Committee. “We’ve spent a considerable amount of time assessing the current uses of plastics on campus and educating our employees and volunteers on ways to reduce plastic and overall waste.”
“While our ultimate goal focuses on eliminating single-use plastics, alternatives should be as sustainable as possible — a wasteful alternative is not a better alternative to plastic,” Ferris said.
CBMM is maximizing its resources by using existing supplies before replacing with more sustainable alternatives, which means CBMM guests and members still may see plastic in use on campus as the museum transitions to single-use plastic free alternatives.
“We’ve offered tips for employees and volunteers that others can also implement very easily,” Ferris said. “Is a plastic item necessary? What waste comes with this product? Can a plastic item be refused or replaced? If a plastic item cannot be eliminated, can it be repurposed, reused or bought in bulk?”
The museum will present its initiative in February at the Small Museum Association Conference in College Par, and in April at the Council of American Maritime Museum’s Annual Conference in Manitowoc, Wis.
“We see this as part of our commitment to be a vital community partner,” Greenaway said. “And it’s our hope for CBMM to be fully single-use plastic free.”
Frequently asked questions and more about the initiative are at cbmm.org/sustainability.
As part of its new, single-use plastic-free initiative, the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum has eliminated the use of plastic cups for its monthly all-staff breakfast meetings. For more about CBMM’s initiative, visit cbmm.org/sustainability.