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. Join our campaign by urging Gov. Jerry Brown to ban plastic bags statewide.

Oceans updates

News Release | Environment California

Environment California Endorses Candidates for 2014 Elections

Environment California, a statewide environmental organization, announced today the endorsement of eight candidates for U.S. Congress.

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News Release | Environment California

California bans plastic bags

Sacramento – Governor Brown has signed a statewide plastic bag ban into law. The bill, SB 270, will phase out such bags in grocery stores and pharmacies beginning July 2015, and in convenience stores one year later. Environmentalists overwhelmingly supported the measure authored by senators Alex Padilla, Kevin de León, and Ricardo Lara.

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News Release | Environment California

Governor speaks well of plastic bag ban

Sacramento – Governor Brown said that he would "probably" will sign a statewide plastic bag ban into law. The bill, SB 270, will phase out such bags in grocery stores and pharmacies beginning July 2015, and in convenience stores one year later. Senators Alex Padilla, Kevin de León, and Ricardo Lara authored the measure, which passed out of the California State Legislature last week.

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News Release | Environment California

California bans plastic bags

Sacramento – The California Senate voted 22-15 to pass a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags. The bill, SB 270, will phase out such bags in grocery stores and pharmacies beginning July 2015, and in convenience stores one year later. Senators Alex Padilla, Kevin de León, and Ricardo Lara authored the measure, which now heads to the Governor’s desk.

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News Release | Environment California

Plastic Bag Ban Bill Passes Key Vote

California is a step closer to banning single-use plastic bags statewide thanks to the leadership of Assemblymember Mike Gatto and Senators Alex Padilla, Kevin de León, and Ricardo Lara. The bill, SB 270 cleared a key vote in Assemblymember Gatto’s Appropriations Committee, the last hurdle before reaching a floor vote by the full Assembly. SB 270 will ban single-use plastic bags in grocery stores, pharmacies, convenience stores, and food marts.  

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