For the past year Ships of the Sea has been making strides to implement environmentally friendly policies. We have always used paper bags in our gift shop instead of plastic ones (in the future look for affordable reusable cloth totes). We have also always offered our guests free refills from our water cooler – instead of selling water in plastic bottles. In 2012, we added to the green space in downtown Savannah with the completion of the Museum's North Garden. The area was a perfect venue for all types of events and our bookings doubled almost overnight. Unfortunately, however, so did the production of waste.
In 2017, after finding handfuls of plastic straws and drink stirrers which had been strewn throughout the North Garden, it was decided that enough was enough. For over a year our Events Manager, Sarah Shartzer, researched alternatives for our more wasteful practices. “Should we use compostable plastics. . . no, you have to have a composting center to compost plastics, and there isn’t one in Savannah.” So much to learn.
Finally, it became obvious to all of us that the best thing to do was to get rid of single-use plastics (I know. . . ). Sarah then had to find eco-friendly alternatives - try finding a sweet & sour mix that doesn’t come packaged in a plastic bottle or wrapping. But Sarah is nothing if not determined, and our Events Department is now around 90% single-use plastic free. Which means: no plastic straws, plastic stirrers, plastic forks, plastic spoons, bottled water, plastic soda bottles, plastic plates, plastic bowls, plastic cups, etc. What haven’t we found a suitable alternate for? Well, for one thing. . . garbage bags. Yes, there is still garbage - but less of it.
We still have more work to do. OUR COMMITMENT is to keep making strides to reduce our waste footprint so that we might aid in the environmental health of our community and our local and global waterways. We hope you will join us in doing what you can to help.
P.S. Sarah Shartzer has recently departed for the greener fields of graduate school. We wish to thank her for the time and devotion she put into this project. Best of luck Sarah, we will miss you.