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Important Plastic Pollution Bills Moving in Sacramento: The Ocean Needs You!

California has been one of the leaders in fighting the scourge of plastic pollution. With over 100 + ordinances limiting or prohibiting the use of expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam, the passage of the statewide bag ban last year, and Surfrider Foundation Ocean Friendly Restaurants all over the state, California is setting the standard for turning the tide on plastic.

That's why this year, the California state legislature is considering several bills to address plastic pollution at the source, and two of them need your help right now!

AB 2779 or the "Connect the Cap" bill ensures that all plastic beverage bottles sold in California have the cap tethered to the bottle so it is not lost and end up on our beaches and in our ocean. As bottle caps are the 3rd most common item found on beaches in California and extremely dangerous to seabirds and marine life, this common-sense bill will keep thousands of caps out of our environment.

AB 2379 also called the "microfibers" bill requires that all clothing made from more than 50% synthetic fibers include a label that warns of plastic microfiber shedding during regular washing and recommends handwashing the item in order to reduce the impact. The disturbing discovery that microfibers from our clothes are entering our ocean demands that consumers are at least empowered with the facts about the textiles they buy. This action will also help shift the industry towards producing products that shed less plastic.

These bills will be heard in the Assembly Natural Resources Committee on Monday April 9 and the most effective thing you can do is make a phone call to the following legislators on the committee.

Al Muratsuchi (Acting Chair)
District: Dem - 66  Contact: (916) 319-2066

Ed Chau
District: Dem - 49 Contact: (916) 319-2049

Susan Talamantes Eggman
District: Dem - 13 Contact: (916) 319-2013

Monique Limón
District: Dem - 37 Contact:(916) 319-2037

Kevin McCarty
District: Dem - 07 Contact: (916) 319-2007

Finally, there is a bill scheduled that will significantly undermine our efforts to ban foam. An industry led bill, AB 2921, attempts to establish a producer-funded recycling program for polystyrene foam. As Michael Torti, the chair of the San Diego chapter points out, recycling isn't the most effective approach in stopping the harmful plastic from entering our ocean, banning it is. To fight this bill, call Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi at (916) 319 2066 and let him know that you DO NOT SUPPORT AB 2921. Below are some phone scripts for each bill.

"Hello- I am a constituent in Assembly Member X's District and I am calling to urge him/her to support two bills:

1. AB 2779 - the Connect the Caps bill, which will ensure that all plastic beverage bottles sold in California have their caps connected so they can be recycled instead of becoming litter and contributing to the ocean plastic pollution problem. Can I count on the Assembly Member's support?

2. AB 2379- the microfibers bill, which will require that all clothing made with more than 50% of synthetic fibers includes a label that warns about plastic microfiber shedding during regular washing and recommends handwashing the item in order to reduce the impact. Can I count on the Assembly Member's support?

3. I also want to urge the Assembly Member to OPPOSE AB 2921, a bill aimed at undermining the spread of local polystyrene foam bans by establishing a producer-funded recycling program. Recycling is the wrong approach for polystyrene foam- it's too cheap to recycle economically. It needs to be banned in order to prevent the release of plastic foam into the environment. This bill has been referred to the Natural Resources Committee but has no hearing date yet. Do you know whether the Assembly Member has a position on this bill?"

Let's send a clear message to the California legislature that we demand solutions now to the plastic pollution crisis!