As part of my ongoing Ocean Hero work on-the-ground helping reduce marine debris, I organzie advocacy efforts to help advance policies that will reduce plastic pollution. This year there are several bills in the California Legislature that would result in sweeping, positive changes. California can be a leading edge for new policies to slow the massive wave of plastic entering the ocean and make producers handle some of the responsibilities of dealing with their waste!
Decades of public education have done very little to slow the growing wave of disposable plastic items manufactured to support a "throw-away lifestyle" that end up as marine debris in the ocean. That's why we support the policies below to change the way California manages their toxic plastic habits.
Endangered leatherback sea turtles that feed on jellyfish off the coast of California often mistake plastic for their normal prey. The ingestion of plastics can be harmful or even deadly to leatherback sea turtles. Pacific leatherback sea turtles are declining towards extinction and rely on clean, plastic-free feeding areas offshore of California for their continued survival.
At their current rate of decline, they could be extinct in 20 years. Scientists have determined over 35% of leatherback sea turtles contain ingested plastic. California has a critical role to play in preventing plastic marine debris, from entering the environment.
Take action below and share these calls to action with friends, family, and all your contacts in California!
To read the full text of the bills you can click on the specific bill title or go to California Legislative Information and type in the bill number in the search box.
Assembly Bill 158 - Solid Waste: Single-Use Carryout Bags
Click here to take action! AB 158 proposes to ban single-use plastic grocery bags throughout California at full-line grocery stores with more than 10,000 square feet of floor space or more than $2 million in annual sales. This action would effectively reduce the amount of plastic waste in California that could become litter in the ocean.
Senate Bill 415 - Solid Waste: Single-Use Carryout Bags
Click here to take action! SB 405 proposes to ban single-use plastic bags throughout California at supermarkets and drug stores and allows for the sale of reusable, paper, and (in certain jurisdictions) compostable plastic bags. This bill seeks to reduce the total cost to manage plastic bag litter in our streets, our waterways, ocean and even our recycling facilities and landfills, which amounts to millions being unnecessarily spent each year.
Assembly Bill 521 - Recycling: Marine Plastic Pollution
Click here to take action! AB 521 proposes significantly reduce plastic pollution by making producers of plastic products (particularly singe-use packaging) responsible for their product design, recovery, collection, and recycling programs to prevent the marine plastic pollution caused by their item. This bill would create the Plastic Pollution Reduction Producer Responsibility Act, which would require California to adopt a statewide goal of reducing marine plastic pollution by 75% by 2020 and 95% by 2025.
Senate Bill 529 - Recycling: Fast Food Facilities
Click here to take action! SB 529 proposes that fast food chains use food packaging be compatible with the local recycling and infrastructure throughout California. The bill would restrict fast food service companies from giving out single-use plastic bags, cups and trays. If passed, it would create the Plastic and Marine Pollution Reduction, Recycling, and Composting Act to require that plastic waste be better managed and raise funds to sponsor cleanup actions to reduce plastic waste reaching the ocean.
Assembly Bill 1142 - State Beaches and Parks Smoking Ban
Click here to take action! AB 1142 proposes to expand on the existing law that makes it an infraction for a person to smoke within 25 feet of a playground or toddler sandbox area. The bill would make it an infraction for a person to smoke on a state coastal beach or in a unit of the state park system. This bill would help to reduce cigarette marine debris, which contains plastic and toxic chemicals in discarded cigarette butts.