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California “Straws on Request” Bill to Reduce Plastic Pollution Passes Out of State Senate

For Immediate Release

For More Information:
Dan Jacobson, Environment California, 916-743-5356
Emily Rusch, CALPIRG, 407-619-7814

SACRAMENTO, Calif. --  AB 1884 (Calderon/Bloom), which calls upon dine-in, full service restaurants to give customers plastic straws only upon request, passed the State Senate on Monday with a 25-15 vote. The bill heads back to the Assembly for a concurrence vote, where is expected to pass, before heading to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk.

“Nothing we use for a few minutes should be allowed to pollute our rivers and oceans for hundreds of years—especially when we don’t really need it,” said Dan Jacobson, state director of Environment California. AB 1884 helps consumers make small but impactful changes that will decrease the plastic pollution harming wildlife, clogging up our oceans and waterways, and eventually entering our food chain.”

Every day in the United States, people throw away about 175 million plastic straws. Many straws end up in or near the ocean; the California Coastal Commission says during organized coast clean-ups, people picked up roughly 835,425 straws/stirrers between 1988 and 2014.

Plastic can harm or even kill marine life, which can choke on it or be strangled by it. Plastic also releases toxic chemicals such as bisphenol-A when it breaks down. BPA affects our hormones and can be carcinogenic.

“Our economy encourages us to make, use, and toss products at the greatest possible speed, and often we don’t think twice about the convenient things we use before throwing them away,” said Emily Rusch, executive director of CALPIRG. “Eliminating unnecessary plastic straws is an easy step we can take to reduce harmful and extraneous waste.”

Already, many Californian cities and counties have banned single-use plastic straws or only make them available upon request. For example, Santa Cruz County banned plastic straws, stir sticks and cutlery in 2017, and required all food service products to be recyclable or compostable. Davis, Malibu, Manhattan Beach, and San Luis Obispo also have plastic straw bans in effect. Berkeley, Huntington Beach, and San Diego are among the cities that already require that plastic straws be given out only on request.

“My generation cares about creating a livable future for ourselves and for the planet,” said Sophie Haddad, UC San Diego student and CALPIRG Student Chapters’ Statewide Board Chair. “California should continue to phase out the worst remaining forms of unnecessary, single-use plastic, starting with foam cups and containers."

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Environment California is a statewide citizen-funded environmental advocacy organization dedicated to protecting California’s air, water and open spaces. www.environmentcalifornia.org

CALPIRG is a non-profit, non-partisan public interest advocacy organizations that stand up to powerful interests whenever they threaten our health and safety, our financial security, or our right to fully participate in our democratic society. On the web at www.calpirg.org.