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In November 2018, a local screening of the short documentary film STRAWS by Linda Booker was sponsored by the Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church’s Earth Team, the Creation Care Alliance and Asheville GreenWorks. The film, which highlights the problems caused by plastic pollution and empowers individuals to be part of the solution, acted as a springboard to a larger and more targeted effort to reduce plastics.

At the film screening, viewers were invited to sign up for a meeting to gauge interest in joining a Plastics Reduction Task Force led by GreenWorks. The level of interest was overwhelming. Over 75 people signed up for the interest meeting and the room could only accommodate 40 participants.

Participants in the first meeting of the Plastics Reduction Task Force on January 23, 2019, divided themselves into the following four committees:

Voluntary Bag Ban
Restaurants and Small Businesses
Education and Outreach
Website


These committees have been meeting independently and come together as a whole task force once each quarter.

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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.
– Margaret Mead 

The Plastics Reduction Task Force is entirely volunteer-led, with support from GreenWorks staff. This group of motivated individuals designs creative solutions to our plastic waste challenges.

For example, the Voluntary Bag Ban committee worked with the Biltmore Merchants Association to encourage businesses in Biltmore Village to stop using plastic shopping bags and reward customers for bringing their own reusable bags.

The Restaurants and Small Businesses team is exploring plastic bag-free days at local tailgate markets.

The Education and Outreach committee plans to get the City of Asheville to commit to plastic-free meetings and events.

And, the Website committee is developing an online presence for the Task Force with a new GoingPlasticFree.org website, as well as Facebook and Instagram accounts. The website will also house the “Go Easy Guide” to restaurants and businesses that are going plastic-free.