Pace pummels plastics

Plastics have been found guilty of environmental crimes and sentenced to banishment — at least by one law school.  

The Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University has banned the use of plastic in its cafeteria and other areas of campus, citing the danger they pose to the environment. Instead, the White Plains, N.Y.-based law school will use paper straws instead of plastic and students will use china and metal flatware in the cafeteria. In addition, at all of its programs, the school will not use paper or plastic products and will provide water-filled bubblers rather than individual plastic water bottles.

“For decades, the Elisabeth Haub School of Law has been a pioneer in the field of environmental law and home to a nationally recognized environmental law program,” said Dean Horace Anderson. “I am so pleased that today, we are ensuring that we continue to lead the way by taking important measures to ensure that our campus is more sustainable than ever.”

“Plastic pollution is one of the most urgent environmental issues facing our planet. It is estimated that by 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish by weight,” said Gilbert and Sarah Kerlin Distinguished Professor of Environmental Law Jason Czarnezki. “The law school is taking a first and necessary step to help confront this crisis and enact more sustainable practices.”

Said John Calvelli, executive vice president of public affairs for the Wildlife Conservation Society and director of WCS’s Give a Sip Campaign, which supports legislation to eliminate single-use plastic straws in New York City: “Plastic pollution threatens marine wildlife worldwide, from whales and sea turtles, to marine birds and fish – and ultimately humans when we eat seafood that have consumed micro-plastics. WCS applauds the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University for taking a strong stance against plastic pollution and setting an excellent example in Westchester as well as the broader New York academic and legal community.”

In addition to reducing plastic, the law school is using new energy efficient dishwashers to reduce the amount of water used by the school. New trash and recycling bins are also being installed with clearly marked components. Should members of the law school community request a “to-go” container they will be given a paper container. By 2019, Pace University will convert all campus water fountains to water filling stations. Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to use their own re-usable water bottles.


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