UPDATE Sept. 16, 2019: Unfortunately, the State Legislature did not vote on the California Plastic Pollution Reduction Act in 2019. However, leaders can pick the bills back up in 2020. We are confident that there will continue to be momentum next year to advance this legislation. Please stay tuned!
Monterey Bay is celebrated around the world for its beautiful ocean views and photogenic wildlife, like sea otters, sardines and whales. But even these protected waters are more polluted than they seem.
Aquarium and MBARI scientists recently found plastic throughout the Monterey Bay water column, from the surface to the deep sea. And most of it matched the same type of plastic used in the single-use products we discard every day, like water bottles, takeout food containers and other packaging.
If we don’t change course, the amount of plastic flowing into the ocean is projected to double in just six years. But California is in a position to get out in front of this challenge and lead the U.S. toward a cleaner future.
The California Plastic Pollution Reduction Act sets a target of reducing 75 percent of packaging waste—and the most polluting single-use plastic products—by 2030. And it sets criteria to make sure that what remains is increasingly recycled or composted.
This bill is among the most visionary approaches to solid waste legislation in the state’s history. It tackles the growing problem of plastic pollution in our ocean and waterways, and inspires innovation to “design out” waste from the products and packages we use every day.
A tidal wave of plastic
Monterey Bay isn’t the only place where plastic waste is making its way from land to sea. Plastic pollution has been found in almost every marine habitat on Earth, harming marine wildlife from tiny crabs to enormous whales.
The average American generates more than 270 pounds of plastic trash per year—one of the highest rates in the world. And we’re only recycling 9 percent of it. We need to close the gap on both sides of the equation: producing dramatically less plastic waste, while also keeping more of that waste out of our landfills and ocean.
California, we’ve got this
No state is better positioned to lead than California, which has the fifth largest economy in the world. Solutions advanced here—by the government, businesses and residents—can become models of change around the globe.
The California Plastic Pollution Reduction Act is a response that matches the scale of the problem. It moves our state decisively in the direction of sustainable waste management, with an emphasis on producing less waste in the first place.
But special interests are lobbying hard against this bill. Your elected representatives in Sacramento need to hear from you, their constituents, to give them the courage to stand up for a cleaner California.
Tell your state legislators to vote YES on the Plastic Pollution Reduction Act, also known as SB 54 and AB 1080. Encourage them to protect ocean wildlife, and keep our own communities cleaner, by creating a future with less single-use plastic waste.