Great Pacific Cleanup

The Pacific Ocean is a part of California’s culture, from the surfing in San Diego to the boardwalk in Santa Monica, to the cliffs in Santa Cruz. When people think about California, they see beaches, the ocean, sea lions, and waves. We need to do everything we can to protect it, and the easiest thing we can do is ban plastic bags. They clog our shores and swirl in our ocean, killing millions of sea turtles and marine life every year.

California uses 12 billion plastic bags per year. All of this plastic not only clogs up our landfills, it’s also hurting the ocean. Right now there is an island of trash twice the size of Texas floating in the Pacific. This floating trash island is full of plastic bags and other artificial debris. It kills millions of birds and marine animals like sea turtles every year. If we don't start cleaning up our act here in California, it will only keep growing.

Too much of this trash heap comes from things we don’t need, like plastic grocery bags. Nothing we use for a few minutes should be polluting the ocean for hundreds of years!

To a sea turtle, a plastic bag floating in the ocean looks a lot like dinner, a jellyfish to be precise. That's why the plastic bags that find their way into the Pacific pose an often-fatal risk to wildlife. 

Of course, the companies that make and sell 11.9 billion bags are fighting to maintain the status quo, fronted by the lobbying team from the American Chemistry Council. But we need to do what is best for the Pacific Ocean and our future.

CALPIRG collected over fifty thousand public comments from students across the state and helped ban bags in Los Angeles, the Bay Area, Santa Cruz, Davis and Santa Barbara. Then CALPIRG built support for a ban on plastic bags in California and defended that ban by helping to pass Prop 67 in California in Fall 2016. 

Issue updates

Media Hit | Oceans

CALPIRG seeks to garner 60,000 signatures to ban plastic bags

Local politicians and environmental advocates joined the UC Berkeley chapter of CALPIRG on Upper Sproul Plaza Wednesday to speak about the importance of banning the distribution of single-use plastic bags in California.

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Media Hit | Oceans

Student Groups Come Together to Ban Plastic Bags

Student groups at UCSB including the Associated Students Coastal Fund, Environmental Affairs Board, Isla Vista Surfrider Foundation and CalPirg, have banded together with campus administration and the Plastic Pollution Coalition to make a profound impact on the campus community and the City of Santa Barbara. 

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Blog Post | Oceans

Ask L.A. City Council to ban the bag!

In the next two weeks, the City of Los Angeles could take a huge step toward the biggest plastic bag ban in the country.

If you and I can keep the city on the path to victory, we can stop more than 2 billion plastic bags per year from polluting our streets, our parks, and our beautiful Pacific Ocean.

Will you click here and urge L.A. to ban single-use plastic bags?

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Blog Post | Oceans

Editorial: Let's shop green -- Proposed single-use bag ban is right for L.A. and City Council must not be swayed by manufacturers concerned with their bottom line | CALPIRG Students

As Los Angeles inches toward a ban on single-use plastic and paper bags, the industries that produce the bags are trying to convince consumers that hundreds of jobs would be lost if a ban takes effect. If they are talking about all the people employed to clean up the millions of trashed plastic bags from the sewers, the parks, the gutters, the rivers, the lakes, the forests, the oceans and pretty much everywhere else, then we say -- great!For the most part those are public employee jobs -- jobs that we pay for; we can afford to lose them.

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Blog Post | Oceans

Plastic Bag Bans on the Rise | CALPIRG Students

The Oceans campaign has been at it again gathering petitions to ban plastic bags.  With a ban imminent for Davis, they have stepped up to the statewide level. Legislation to ban plastic bag statewide is expected be introduced this month. More than 4,400 people at UC Davis, mostly students, signed on to support a local ordinance prohibiting the distribution of single-use plastic bags at large retailers.  Under the proposed plan, paper bags would be given for a ten cent fee. CALPIRG is working to get support for a similar measure statewide.

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