UCSB Students host Earth Week events to address plastic pollution

CALPIRG Students host a series of action events to call for plastic-free future and advocate for policy in California to reduce plastic packaging in e-commerce

Press Release

For immediate release: 
Wednesday, April 27th, 2022

Izabel Martinez, UCSB Chapter Chair, CALPIRG Students, (949) 690-1086, [email protected] 

With plastic pollution on the rise, CALPIRG Students at UCSB hosted a week of events for Youth Earth Week, centered around the national Earth Day celebration. 52 years after the first Earth Day celebrations that were started in 1970 as a response to the Santa Barbara Channel Oil Spill, young people are leading the charge calling for a greener planet.

The goal of the week was to build support for Assembly Bill 2026 (AB2026), authored by Assemblymember Laura Friedman (D-Glendale),  which aims to reduce single-use plastic packaging used in the e-commerce marketplace. The bill will phase out certain single-use plastic packaging that is often added to goods for shipment of e-commerce purchases, and is co-authored by local Assembly Member Steve Bennett (D-Ventura).

The on-campus student group launched the week with a series of activist trainings, attended by over 30 students. Over the course of the week, students knocked on doors in Isla Vista to collect wasteful single-use plastics and other packaging from online shipments students had received to their homes and educated their peers about AB2026, and other opportunities for policy action.

Nory Land, first year environmental studies major who participated in the event, said, “Seeing so many young people in our community support these efforts to curb plastic waste in our oceans was especially inspiring. It gives me hope for our future and the change we want to make!”

CALPIRG Students used the plastic they gathered to build a 6′5″ plastic monster sculpture as a visual representation of the problem at hand. “The sculpture was built entirely out of plastic waste from students gathered in just four days. If this much plastic is accumulated by college students here, imagine how much is produced by the entire state in an entire year!” said event coordinator and 2nd year UCSB student, Trevor Bogonko.

“Our campuses are leaders in sustainability, both in research and policy. Just a few years ago, the UC System worked with CALPIRG Students to make a commitment to phase out single-use plastics at every campus. But we need to do more and take action statewide,” said Izabel Martinez, CALPIRG’s Chapter Chair at UCSB.

Another student, Sean McArthur, highlighted the issue with plastic packaging in online deliveries: “Everytime we we order something online it comes with a bunch of unnecessary plastic. Plastic packaging from these deliveries has increased 30% since the start of the pandemic, and is expected to double by 2026. That’s why we support AB2026 and using Earth Day as an opportunity to call for concrete policy solutions.”

After the rally, students paraded through Isla Vista, as organizers led the crowd in chants and songs to Depressions beach where they wrote “YES ON AB2026” in the sand in big letters calling on the state legislature to pass the bill. If successful, AB 2026 would phase out the use of plastic films, cushioning and other plastic packaging materials in California. This would include materials used for shipping in or into the state. This mandate would require large retailers to meet this mandate by January 1, 2024 and small online retailers to do the same by January 1, 2026.


CALPIRG Students provided the training, professional support and resources students need to tackle climate change, protect public health, revitalize our democracy, feed the hungry and more. For more information, visit www.calpirgstudents.org