California City Has a Drought Solution: Everyone Just Be Cool and Use Paper Plates, Okay?

We have seen the future, and it’s a giant pile of dirty paper plates, accompanied by a single saved spork.

Like a lot of California cities, Fort Bragg is hurting for water, so it’s rounding up the usual suspects of drought—cutting down on lawn care, ignoring the pools, and also one slightly unusual one. Via the SF Gate:

Restaurants and hotels must use disposable plates, cups and flatware, serve customers water only when asked, and drastically cut back on the laundering of tablecloths, napkins, sheets and towels.

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Setting aside issues of increased landfill usage and the energy used to transport all those extra supplies, there’s another problem: paper plates, plastic utensils, and disposable cups all take a lot of water to make. Even a single sheet of paper takes just over 2.5 gallons of water to produce. To be clear, what Fort Bragg is doing isn’t “conserving” water—it’s just off-loading its water burden somewhere else. And, with drought spreading all over the world, that’s not a strategy that’s going to work long for anyone.

Image: Artsem Martysiuk / Shutterstock

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