Month: January 2019

Quick Mends: Who remembers the milkman?

person pouring milk in highball glass
Photo by Engin Akyurt on

Update: On March 1, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously that bigger L.A. restaurants cannot offer or provide disposable plastic straws to customers who are dining in or taking food to go unless customers request them, according to the Los Angeles Times. The law goes into effect on Earth Day, April 22.

The Berkeley, California, City Council just passed an ordinance to require restaurants charge an additional 25 cents for disposable cups by January, 2020, as part of a sweeping Single Use Disposable Foodware and Litter Reduction Ordinance. Opponents wonder if take-out coffee customers might wait to buy their to-go java in neighboring Oakland.

Meanwhile, Adidas’s CEO says the company sold 1 million shoes last year made from harvested ocean plastics. Making the shoes involved 3D printing technology, as well as a partnership with Parley for the Oceans.

And, note the graph here that shows the Top 20 countries with mismanaged plastic waste. No.1 is China; No. 20 is the United States.

Here’s a hopeful quote from Parley’s weekly blog:

“Removing plastics from the ocean is not enough. We need to get at the whole idea of disposability and single-use items,” says Tom Szaky, CEO of the Trenton, New Jersey-based international recycling company TerraCycle, which is behind Loop. “We’re going back to the milkman model of the 1950s. You buy the milk but the milk company owns the bottle, which you leave in the milk box to be picked up when you’re done with it.”

See you on the river, Jim Burns


‘The Osprey’ spreads its wings

screen shot 2019-01-19 at 8.46.50 am
(Courtesy The Osprey.)

Jim Yuskavitch here, editor of “The Osprey,” a non-profit science and policy journal that has been advocating for wild salmon and steelhead since 1987.

We recently partnered with The Conservation Angler, Fly Fishers International, Wild Steelhead Coalition, Trout Unlimited, World Salmon Forum, Skeena Wild and Steelhead Society of BC to boost our wild salmon and steelhead advocacy efforts. We’ve added pages and content, and upgraded print quality of the hardcopy edition. Now we’re looking to increase our subscriber base along with our influence on wild salmon and steelhead conservation policies.

“The Osprey” is published in January, May and September, and subscribers may receive it electronically or as a hardcopy in the mail. In addition to receiving “The Osprey” with its articles on the latest wild fish science, policy and issues, the funds received also allow “The Osprey” to be sent to wild-fish conservation decision-makers, such as scientists, fisheries managers, politicians and professional conservationists — a key part of its advocacy strategy.

“The Osprey” is funded by individual subscriptions and donations. Subscriptions start at $15 with the opportunity to donate more. Anyone interested in subscribing to “The Osprey” and helping to support wild salmon and steelhead conservation can download the current issue and donate here

In 2012, “The Osprey” received the Haig-Brown Award for excellence in fisheries conservation journalism.

The Osprey 69278 Lariat Sisters, OR 97759 (541) 549-8914

This appeal originally appeared in the current California Fly Fisher magazine.


As storms move out, water continues to surge

rain in la
Even after the rain stopped falling Wednesday, the pedestrian bridge pilings in Atwater Village cause a mean curl. Because the LA River has little-to-no permanent structure, expect your favorite fishing spot to be radically changed for your next visit. (Courtesy Robert Blankenship)

Next up in Cali: Ban plastic containers

The annual Los Angeles River cleanups give you a feeling for just how much trash we dump into our home waters. The irony is that she’s using a plastic bag! (Courtesy Friends of the Los Angeles River)

UPDATE: Jan. 8: San Diego banned Styrofoam, making it the largest California city to do so.

Imperial Beach joined two other San Diego County cities in banning
polystyrene food and beverage containers, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. Styrofoam isn’t quite the poster child of the no-plastic movement — that would be straws — but the stuff is everywhere, in clam-shell take-out food containers, disposable cups, disposable lids, even in packaging using the adorable moniker “peanuts.” (Also, check out this gripping video about making a living selling Styrofoam boxes. It’s off-topic, but incredible.)

In this fascinating read, I found out how San Pedro La Laguna in Guatemala banned both Styrofoam and single-use plastic straws to protect its most valuable natural resource, Lake Atitlan. Tourism was up 40 percent last year, as managers of the small city of 13,000 went house to house to convince people to give up their plastics.

We need more hopeful stories such as this one, especially after the 2,000-foot boom created by young Dutch entrepreneur Boyan Slat to clean up the parts of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch failed last month and is getting towed back to San Francisco for repairs. “60 Minutes” ran an interesting segment on the project and what Slat hopes to accomplish as we literally drown the world in our garbage. We need both legislation and technology to pull us back from the plastic-wrap brink.

Another hopeful story comes from Traverse City, Michigan. This summer, my son and I were fly fishing the fabulous Au Sable, a few hours north and inland. When we got to The Village, a collection of shops, we were dying for a cup of great brew. My son ordered it “to go,” and the barista handed him a ceramic cup. Bewildered, Will said he wanted the brew to go, to which the guy replied, “that’s OK, we only serve coffee in ceramic cups. Bring one back next time you’re in town.” The cups are all donated by customers. Let me ask you, how many cups do you have in your cupboard right now that you never use and could donate to a great cause? Starbucks, where are you in this debate?

See you on the river, Jim Burns