Tell the Portland Timbers and Thorns to Stop Using Single Use Plastic

Tell the Portland Timbers and Thorns to Stop Using Single Use Plastic

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Jenny Slepian
Jenny Slepian signed this petition

As Timbers and Thorns fans, we have always pushed the Front Office to do better. On questions of social justice, anti-discrimination, anti-fascism, and treatment of one another in the stands, we have continuously spoken out when we felt that the organization needed to do better. There is one area where we have never pushed back, and where performance continues to be appalling, and that is the team’s contribution to environmental destruction and climate change.

We are in a climate emergency. We cannot ignore the fact that our natural resources are being degraded at a perilous rate while the impacts of climate change become more apparent each day. Yet, the Portland Timbers and Portland Thorns continue to push petroleum based single-use plastic products as part of the “fan experience”. They claim sustainability by using bioplastic, compostable cups. The dark side of this is that these cups are not compostable. They are not welcome in Oregon compost facilities. In fact, a group of composters serving Oregon put out a document last year outlining 9 reasons why they don’t want “compostable” packaging or serviceware at their facilities. These reasons included the following: they don’t compost, they can’t sell to organic farmers, they threaten human and environmental health, and per an Oregon DEQ study, they release more greenhouse gases than regular plastics or other materials. Another study done by 5 Gyres found that bioplastics are just as harmful to marine life when they enter the ocean as regular plastic because they simply do not breakdown and are ingested by wildlife. In an age when we are all trying to do the best we can to reduce our impact on climate change and threats to the environment, why would a sports team, in Oregon, continue to use these damaging products for any reason besides greenwashing?

The good news is, they don’t have to. The Ball Corporation has started working with NFL and college football stadiums on providing aluminum cups that can be refilled during games and recycled after games. Aluminum is one of the most easily recoverable and recycled materials, and unlike plastic, which uses petroleum at every stage of its life cycle and degrades quickly through the recycling process (although most plastic cups are not recyclable), 75% of aluminum ever produced is still in use today.

Switching to aluminum cups could also allow the teams to personalize them with logos and special branding, like Stand Together, Give Racism the Red Card, and other special events. They can be taken home as a collector’s item, instead of left in the stands as trash.

Recently, Miami Dolphins CEO Tom Garfinkel challenged 100 stadiums to join them in switching to aluminum by then end of 2021 to eliminate over 250 million pieces of plastic a year. Why not Providence Park?

This petition asks the Portland Timbers and Thorns front office to commit to reducing their plastic waste and contribution to climate change by switching from petroleum-based plastic and bioplastic materials to aluminum.

As Timbers and Thorns fans, we petition the organization to switch from plastic and bioplastic “compostable” cups and partner with The Ball Corporation to provide recyclable and reusable aluminum cups by the start of the 2021 season. We also petition the team to allow fans to bring their own cups to matches during the 2020 season to start reducing the usage of plastic and bioplastic immediately.