We have the Momentum

By | Dan Jacobson
State Director

Local communities are taking action to ban single use plastic bags.

LA Battles Bag Ban

By | Dan Jacobson
State Director

In a unanimous decision on Wednesday April 4th, the LA City Council Environment and Energy Committee called for a policy statement for environmental review of an ordinance banning both paper and plastic.

The Battle for LA

By | Dan Jacobson
State Director

BIG NEWS- A Los Angeles Superior Court upheld the County of Los Angeles ordinance to impose a single-use plastic bag ban with a 10-cent fee on paper bags. The case was brought by the company that makes single use plastic bags. This should pave the way for the City of LA to move forward with a ban on single use plastic bags!!

McDonald's to phase out Styrofoam


Great news for the ocean: McDonald's, arguably America's most iconic fastfood chain, is launching a pilot program to phase out Styrofoam coffee cups.


Dana Point is One Step Closer to a Ban

The City Council moved one step closer banning plastic bags, giving the ordinance the second of three approvals it needs for adoption at its meeting Tuesday night.


Update: City of Alameda remains opted-in for bag ban ordinance

The city staff removed the item from the agenda for 2/21 that means that by default, the city is opting in to the ordinance.


Cities Support the San Mateo Regional Ban

The City of Belmont recently decided to join the regional bag ban effort in San Mateo County. Foster City will discuss it next Tuesday and the City of Millbrae is the only city in the County jurisdiction the have passed thier own ordinance.



Alameda City to discuss opting-out of bag ban ordinance

The Alameda City Council has an item on their 2/21 agenda to discuss opting-out of the countywide plastic bag ban.

Report | Environment California Research & Policy Center

Leading the Way Toward a Cleaner Ocean

Out in the Pacific Ocean, plastic debris churns in a soup called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch – an area twice the size of Texas where plastic bits outweigh plankton. Plastic pollution persists for hundreds of years, and can kill turtles, seabirds and other marine animals.
Throw-away plastic bags are a significant part of the problem. To reduce ocean pollution and protect the environment, more than 80 national and local governments across the planet have taken official action to ban throw-away plastic bags or to establish fees or taxes on such bags.
State, county, and city governments in California should follow their lead and ban the use of plastic grocery bags.
• Californians use approximately 16 billion plastic bags per year – more than 400 annually per person.
• Less than 5 percent of plastic bags are recycled. Instead, they end up sitting in landfills, littering streets, clogging streams, fouling beaches, or floating out to sea.
• Plastic trash threatens ocean ecosystems. Sea turtles and other marine animals often mistake plastic bags
for jellyfish and eat them, causing injury or death. In parts of the Pacific Ocean, including the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, plastic outweighs plankton by up to six times.
• The city of San Francisco estimated that the taxpayer cost to subsidize the recycling, collection, and disposal of plastic and paper bags amounts to as much as 17 cents per bag. Applied to California as a whole, that adds up to more than $1 billion per year.
More than 80 national and local governments around the world have taken action to protect the ocean by reducing the use of plastic bags.
• At least 20 nations and 47 local governments have passed bans on distributing specific kinds of throw- away plastic bags, including the nations of Italy, Kenya, Mongolia, Macedonia, and Bangladesh; the states of Maharashtra, India and Buenos Aires, Argentina; and the cities of Karachi, Pakistan and Telluride, Colorado.
• Approximately 26 nations and local communities have established fee programs to reduce plastic bag use and/or increase the use of reusable alternatives, including Botswana, China, Hong Kong, Wales, Ireland, Israel, Canada’s Northwest Terri- tories, Toronto, Mexico City, and Washington, D.C. 
Bans and meaningful fee programs effectively reduce plastic bag pollution.
• Bans and fee programs quickly reduce plastic bag distribution. Ireland, which in 2002 established a fee roughly equivalent to 28 U.S. cents per bag, saw plastic bag use drop by 90 percent within the first year. After Washington, D.C., implemented a much smaller 5 cent tax on plastic bags, the number of
bags distributed by food retailers
fell from 22.5 million per month to 3.3 million per month. And the year after banning plastic bags at pharmacies and supermarkets in 2007, San Francisco businesses distributed 127 million fewer plastic bags, and cut overall bag waste reaching the city landfill by up to 10 percent.
Eleven city and county governments in California have taken successful action to reduce plastic bag pollution.
• Eleven California cities and counties have bans on plastic bags in effect, including Long Beach, Santa Monica, San Jose, San Francisco, and unincorporated Marin and unincorporated Los Angeles counties. Five of these communities, including Marin County and San Jose, have also authorized mandatory charges on paper bags to encourage citizens to use reusable bags.
• Two additional communities, Oakland and Manhattan Beach, passed bans that were later struck down after legal challenges by plastic bag manufacturers.
Much more progress can be made to reduce plastic pollution in the ocean and transform our throw-away culture.
• Education and recycling cannot
keep pace with the generation of plastic bag pollution. Despite a
2006 law requiring retailers to place bag recycling bins in front of their stores, less than 5 percent of bags are recycled.
• To make a real impact, all California cities and counties should restrict the use of plastic bags, and advocate for similar action at the state level.