A Voice for Our Ocean

STATEMENT: California Legislation “Exactly the Reality Check Needed” to Address Recycling Crisis

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PORTLAND, OR — On Wednesday, September 8, the California legislature passed a series of bills that would strengthen the state’s recycling system. Among the measures was a bill (SB 343) prohibiting the use of the chasing arrows recycling symbol or any other language suggesting recyclability on items that are not actually recyclable in the state of California. The suite of legislation, which now awaits approval from California Governor Newsom, came just days before Ocean Conservancy released its annual International Coastal Cleanup report showing that nearly 70% of trash found on beaches and waterways around the world over the past 35 years is effectively unrecyclable. Ocean Conservancy has championed these bills in California, and Nicholas Mallos, senior director of Ocean Conservancy’s Trash Free Seas program, issued the following statement on their passage:

“For decades the public has been led to believe that single-use plastics and plastic packaging are disposable and even recyclable, that you can throw these items ‘away’ into a trash or recycling bin without consequence. The truth is that there’s no such thing as ‘away’ on this planet, and our ocean is bearing the costs of this false advertising. Every year, volunteers with our International Coastal Cleanup remove millions of single-use plastics like cups, plates, bottles, utensils, and straws from beaches and waterways around the world in a single day; and recent analysis shows that the vast majority of what’s found could never have been recycled. This suite of legislation coming out of California is exactly the reality check needed so that we can tackle the ocean plastics crisis with clear eyes and bring forth real change and awareness. Ocean Conservancy is proud to support these bills and applauds the California Legislature for approving them, and we look forward to Gov. Newsom signing them into law.”


About Ocean Conservancy

Ocean Conservancy is working to protect the ocean from today’s greatest global challenges. Together with our partners, we create science-based solutions for a healthy ocean and the wildlife and communities that depend on it. For more information, visit, or follow us on FacebookTwitter or Instagram.

About Ocean Conservancy’s Trash Free Seas® Program

Ocean Conservancy has led the fight for a clean, healthy ocean free of trash since 1986, when the U.S.-based nonprofit launched its annual International Coastal Cleanup (ICC). Since then, Ocean Conservancy has mobilized millions of ICC volunteers to remove trash from beaches and waterways around the world while pioneering upstream solutions to the growing ocean plastics crisis. Ocean Conservancy invests in cutting-edge scientific research, implements on-the-ground projects, and works with conservationists, scientists, governments, the private sector and members of the public to change the plastics paradigm. To learn more about our Trash Free Seas® program visit

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