Trash is killing ocean wildlife

Californians throw away 123,000 tons of plastic bags each year, and too many of them end up as litter in our ocean. Today, there are 100 million tons of trash in the North Pacific Gyre; in some parts of the Pacific, plastic outweighs plankton 6 to 1.

All of this trash in the Pacific is creating an ecological disaster:

  • Turtles and seabirds frequently ingest floating plastic, mistaking it for food. They also get entangled in bags and often drown or die of suffocation.
  • Adult seabirds inadvertently feed small bits of plastic to their chicks — often causing them to starve to death after their stomachs become filled with plastic.
  • Toxic pollutants leach from the plastic into the water. Scientists are now studying whether fish and other marine animals absorb these toxic pollutants. If so, there is a good chance that we also absorb them when we eat fish.

What’s really scary is that scientists tell us this plastic may never biodegrade. And every day we go without tackling this problem, it becomes a little bit worse.

We can stop the waste

Nothing we use for a few minutes should pollute our oceans for hundreds of years. Californians know this, and are taking action to protect the Pacific.

We’ve made great progress winning local bans and educating the public on the harmful effects of plastic. Today, bags are banned (or soon will be) in more than 100 California communities — and now 1 in 3 Californians are living bag-free. It's a great start, but we’re not stopping until we rid the whole state of plastic bag pollution.

Let's ban the bags statewide!

With more cities banning bags each month, we have the momentum. With your help, we can win an historic victory for our ocean — a statewide ban on plastic bags.

Member support makes it possible for our staff to do research, make our case to the media, reach out to critical constituencies, and help government officials make the right choices for our ocean.

Oceans updates

News Release | Environment California

Sacramento plastic bag ban moves ahead

Sacramento, CA – The City Council’s Law and Legislation Committee unanimously approved a draft ordinance banning single-use plastic bags citywide. Satisfying this procedural requirement keeps the ban on track for a final vote by the full City Council later in 2013. Next, Sacramento will commission an initial study of the proposed ordinance’s environmental impacts. The ordinance would bar grocery, drug, and convenience stores from distributing single-use plastic checkout bags within city limits.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment California

Sen. Alex Padilla’s plastic bag ban bill moves to floor

Sacramento, CA – Legislation to ban single-use plastic bags across California took another step toward becoming law. The Senate’s Appropriations Committee voted this morning to approve SB 405, clearing the way for a floor vote by the full Senate. Written by Alex Padilla (Pacoima), the bill would ban single-use plastic checkout bags in grocery, drug, and convenience stores.

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News Release | Environment California

Where is LA’s plastic bag ban?

Los Angeles, CA – One year ago today, the Los Angeles City Council committed to banning plastic bags in a historic 13-1 vote. City staffers have spent the intervening year drafting a proposed ordinance and conducting an exhaustive study. Their findings are in, and they’ve proposed banning plastic bags citywide as the best way to protect LA’s environment and the Pacific Ocean. But the same Council that committed to a plastic bag ban 13-1 has yet to even schedule a vote.

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News Release | Environment California

Supreme Court upholds plastic bag ban. Again.

Sacramento, CA – The California Supreme Court has denied an appeal challenging the Los Angeles County reusable bag ordinance, upholding the appellate court’s ruling in Los Angeles County’s favor. The lawsuit, brought by plastic bag manufacturer Hilex Poly Co. and named individuals, had sought to repeal the county’s 2010 plastic bag ban. A unanimous appellate court upheld the ban in March.

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News Release | Environment California

Environment California raises over $20,000 to rescue LA sea lion pups

Calabasas, CA – Environment California has delivered over $20,000 for California Wildlife Center to rescue stranded sea lion pups along the coast. The money will help cover the cost of building temporary sea lion and seal housing at the Center and provide for the care, feeding, and rehabilitation of stranded sea lion pups.

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