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STATEMENT: Ocean Conservancy Applauds California Lawmakers, Governor on Passage of Several Plastics Bills

New California Laws a “Wakeup Call” for Plastics Producers

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PORTLAND, OR — On Tuesday, October 5, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law a series of bills that would strengthen the state’s recycling system, including SB 343, AB 1276, and AB 881. Ocean Conservancy, which maintains several offices on the U.S. west coast including in Santa Cruz, CA, has championed these bills throughout 2021 and issued a statement of support last month. Nicholas Mallos, senior director of Ocean Conservancy’s Trash Free Seas program, issued the following statement on their passage:

“To end the ocean plastics crisis we need to make less and recycle more, but until now it has been all but impossible for the average person to make choices in that direction. For decades, we’ve believed that our waste was getting recycled, when it was in fact being sent to dumpsites abroad; for decades we’ve looked to the chasing arrows symbol on packaging to guide us in sorting our household waste, when a majority of items bearing these symbols aren’t recyclable at all. This suite of new California laws lays the groundwork for a real shift in awareness and will serve as a wakeup call to plastics producers that they can no longer hide behind false advertising when it comes to the devastating impacts of plastic pollution on our environment and ocean. We applaud Senator Ben Allen and Assemblymembers Wendy Carrillo and Lorena Gonzalez for their vision, and Governor Gavin Newsom for signing these sensible, pragmatic bills into law. There is still more to do in California to curb plastic pollution, but we hope that other state governments follow suit.”

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Notes for reporters:

Year after year, single-use plastics dominate the list of items removed by volunteers from beaches and waterways around the world during Ocean Conservancy’s annual International Coastal Cleanup (ICC).

Earlier this month, Ocean Conservancy released its 2021 ICC report. Since the first ICC in 1986, nearly 17 million volunteers have collected over 357 million items. Analysis of the 17 most commonly collected items – including cigarette butts, plastic wrappers, plastic bottles, plastic bottle caps, straws and stirrers – found that 69% of the trash collected by volunteers is not recyclable in most circumstances. The analysis also found that food related waste, including straws, cutlery, and takeout containers, make up more than 60% of the most commonly collected items at the ICC.

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 oceanconservancy.org, 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 oceanconservancy.org/trashfreeseas.

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