A blog set out to explore, archive & relate plastic pollution happening world-wide, while learning about on-going efforts and solutions to help break free of our addiction to single-use plastics & sharing this awareness with a community of clean water lovers everywhere!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

California lawmakers send governor a ban on single-use plastic bags

Published in the L.A. Times by Patrick McGreevy, August 29, 2014
The state Senate on Friday gave final legislative approval to a measure that would phase out single-use plastic bags in supermarkets, pharmacies and convenience stores as part of an effort to rid beaches and streets of litter.

The measure, which now goes to Gov. Jerry Brown for consideration, would allow stores to charge customers 10 cents to provide paper or reusable plastic bags as an alternative to single-use bags.
California would be the first state government to approve such a ban although the bags are outlawed throughout Hawaii because of local jurisdiction laws.

Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) said his bill just makes statewide what more than 120 cities and counties in California have already done.

“We have seen a groundswell of action in this direction at the local level,” Padilla told colleagues. “But this is a statewide problem meriting a statewide solution.”
The ban would kick in for grocery stores and pharmacies on July 1, 2015, and would extend to convenience and liquor stores a year later. The 100 cities and counties that already have bans would be grandfathered in.

The bill was opposed by Republicans, including Ted Gaines of Rocklin. "I'm quite frankly offended by having the state dictate what we need and don’t need in our lives," he told his colleagues.

The measure was opposed by a group of bag-makers calling themselves the American Progressive Bag Alliance, which warned the legislation would hurt the economy while enriching grocery stores that can charge customers for paper and reusable bags.
Paul Bauer, a lobbyist for the group, said the bill will eliminate 2,000 jobs and replace one plastic bag with another. The current bags are not all wasted, he said.

“People put these to use all over their house doing a variety of different things,” Bauer told lawmakers at a hearing on the bill Friday.

Sen. Jean Fuller (R-Bakersfield) said the idea of the state training consumers on which products to use “absolutely is not the American way.”

With one-third of California under plastic-bag bans adopted at the local level, the evidence is that the bans are not hurting the economy, according to Mark Murray, executive director of Californians Against Waste.

“We now have years of data from cities and counties throughout California to show that this policy is not just working to reduce plastic-bag litter and waste and pollution, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but it’s saving consumers money and there has not been a loss of jobs,” Murray told lawmakers Friday.

The legislation would also provide $2 million in competitive loans to bag-makers to transition into making reusable bags.

The measure was supported by environmental groups, including Heal the Bay and the California League of Conservation Voters, as well as labor and business groups, including United Food and Commercial Workers Western States Council and the California Grocers Assn.

“This important step forward shows that we can achieve lasting victories for ocean and environmental health,” said Nathan Weaver, an oceans advocate with Environment California.

More than 14 billion single-use plastic bags are distributed by retailers each year and 88% of plastic bags are not recycled, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  In California, only 3% are recycled, according to CalRecycle.

Twitter: @mcgreevy99 

California plastic bag ban heads to Jerry Brown

Published in the Sacramento Bee: Friday, Aug. 29, 2014 by David Siders
California lawmakers narrowly approved a sweeping plastic bag ban Friday, leaving Gov. Jerry Brown to decide the fate of the controversial bill in an election year.

The ban, the subject of years of debate, was one of the most heavily lobbied issues in the final days of the legislative session, with back-and-forth votes this week. The Senate approved the measure 22-15 on Friday.

The measure could be politically difficult for Brown, a longtime champion of environmental causes but a relatively moderate Democrat, especially on issues of concern to business.

In addition to banning lightweight plastic bags from grocery stores, the bill would have customers pay at least a dime for a paper or reusable plastic bag.

“The most simple elegant solution to avoid paying a 10-cent fee at a grocery store would be to bring a reusable bag, and that is the ultimate objective of this bill,” said Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Los Angeles, who carried the measure.

Opponents in the plastic and paper bag industries focused their attacks on the fee, characterizing it as a windfall for grocers. A prominent grocers union temporarily withdrew its support for the legislation after citing concerns that money from the fee would inflate store profits.

When Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, promoted the bill in his house, Jon Fleischman, the conservative blogger and former state GOP executive director, responded on Twitter with a hashtag: “NANNYSTATE.”

“This is big government taking over local agencies’ responsibilities,” said Sen. Jean Fuller, R-Bakersfield.

The bill reflected a compromise between some industry groups and environmentalists. It allows plastic manufacturers to apply for grants from a $2 million state fund to change their operations to make bags sanctioned by the new bill.

But manufacturers nationwide remained opposed, saying it would put bag makers out of work.

Padilla said he had not spoken with Brown about the plastic bag ban and that “we’re taking nothing for granted.”

Still, Padilla said he “worked extensively” with Brown administration officials on the grant program and content of the regulation. More than 90 California cities, including Los Angeles and San Francisco, have already banned single-use plastic bags, suggesting signing the bill may not be as difficult politically as it once might have been.

“We’ve seen a groundswell of support in city after city,” Padilla said.

Proponents argue the plastic bag ban will significantly reduce garbage and damage to wildlife.

Statewide legislation was rejected by lawmakers last year but revived with a provision including money to convert plastic bag plants to new uses. The Assembly passed the bill on Thursday, just days after it failed an initial test in the lower house.

Brown’s Republican opponent in the gubernatorial race, Neel Kashkari, said on Twitter on Thursday that the plastic bag ban effort was “embarrassing.”

“Poverty? Jobs? Education? Rebuilding the middle class?” wrote Kashkari, a former U.S. Treasury Department official. “Nope. Plastic bags.”

The plastic bag ban is one of hundreds of bills the governor will act on in coming weeks. His office typically does not comment on pending legislation, and it declined to comment Friday on the bag bill.

Call David Siders, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 321-1215. Follow him on Twitter @davidsiders. Staff writer Laurel Rosenhall contributed to this report.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

These 27 Powerful Photos Will Make You Swear Off Plastic Forever

Published on Distractify

Over the last ten years, humans produced and consumed more plastic than during the entire 20th century. Fifty percent of these plastic products and packages are used just once before we throw them away. Of course, there is no away. Except for the small percentage that is incinerated (mmm, air pollution) virtually every piece of plastic that was ever made still exists in some shape or form.
People Sharing

Plastic accounts for around 10 percent of the total waste we generate.

bloomberg.comPlastics at a Japanese recycling facility.

The average American throws away approximately 185 pounds of plastic per year.

dw.deA Chinese worker labors in front of a big pile of waste plastic bottles at a recycling station in Zhengzhou city, central Chinas Henan province, 2010.

A big portion of that is in the form of plastic bags.

artnak.net"Plastic Bag Monster," a public installation by Slovenian artist Miha Artnak.

The world consumes more than one million bags per minute.

artnak.comThe monster is made from 40,000 used plastic bags and 7,500 used plastic cups.

centralasianThe Recycling Labyrinth--an art installation made from 8,000 plastic bottles and placed near UN building in Geneva, 2011.

That works out to about 1,500 plastic bottles per second.

MSLK DesignLast year, MSLK Design hung 1,500 plastic water bottles strung together to visualize 1 second of US consumption (Governor's Island, NYC).

If you think all that plastic waste just ends up in landfills, far away from where you live, think again.

plasticpollutionPlastic waste being skimmed from the mouth of the Los Angeles River in Long Beach, California.

Plastic constitutes approximately 90 percent of all trash floating on the ocean’s surface, with 46,000 pieces of plastic per square mile.

That enough to cover 40 percent of the world's ocean surfaces.

thebigdurianNariman Point, Mumbai (2007)

This floating plastic breaks down into such small segments that the pieces from just ONE liter bottle could end up on every mile of beach in the world.

telegraph.co.ukOn certain Hawaiian beaches, these plastic particles outnumber sand grains until you dig down about a foot.

All this microscopic plastic debris has given birth to a new type of rock: Plastiglomerate.

livescience.comThe rock is the result of melted plastic trash on beaches mixing with sediment, basaltic lava fragments and organic debris, such as shells.

Centuries from now, plastiglomerate is how our generation will be remembered in the geological record.


One million sea birds and 100,000 marine mammals are killed annually from plastic in our oceans.

algalitaShark carcass on Kamilo Beach, Hawaii.

44 percent of all seabird species, 22 percent of cetaceans, all sea turtle species, and a growing list of fish species have been documented with plastic in or around their bodies.

coastalcare.orgMidway atoll, bird corpse.
zoo.org.au A wild Australian Bowerbird with a milk bottle ring tightly wedged around its neck.

The only way to end this madness is to seek out alternatives to the plastic items that you rely on.

takepart.comHuman sized bottles filled with bottles collected by one man, over the course of one year, on the beach at Point Reyes, California.

When absolutely necessary (or unavoidable) to use plastic, choose #1 (PETE) or #2 (HDPE). They're the easiest to recycle.


Look around you. How much plastic waste do you see?

surfinggreen.com.auPlastic pollution will be an ecological disaster in years to come if we don’t act. "We are using more plastic now than ever before and we’re not managing it properly," said Tim Silverwood, founder of the not-for-profit organisation Take 3, which asks every person to simply take three pieces of rubbish with them when they leave the beach, waterway or…anywhere.
For more info on how to take your home, office, campus, or church plastic-free, visit plasticpollutioncoalition.org.

23 Creative Ways to Reuse Old Plastic Bottles

Published on Bored Panda

DIY recycling projects are always cool, especially when you can turn your trash into something new and useful. We’ve written posts about ways to recycle before, but it turns out there’s so much that you can do with recycle plastic bottles that they deserved their own post.

The PET plastic that most plastic beverage bottles are made of is a fairly useful material – it’s resilient, flexible, transparent and food safe. As such, there are probably countless applications for these bottles that will give them second lives. These 23 are a great place to start, but can you think of your own as well?

Vertical Garden

Source: Rosenbaum and Luciano Huck


Designed by: Sarah Turner


Image credits: unknown

Beautiful Mosaic From Caps Left By Hurricane Sandy

Designed by Lisa Be | Project Vortex

Spoon Lamp

Designed by Yaroslav Olenev

Jewelry Stand

Source: EBLOT

Cherry Blossom Paint Stamp

Source: alphamom.com

Parking Canopy

Image credits: Garth Britzman

Bouquet Lamp

Image credits: unknown

Christmas Tree

Image credits: stranamasterov.ru

Cute Planters

Designed by: Seamy’s Deco And House
Designed by: Maceta Gatuna

Intricate Bottle Vase

Source: wikihow.com

Durable Purse

Image credits: Zitta Schnitt

Sci-Fi Rocket Jet Pack

Image credits: doodlecraftblog.com

Hanging Chandelier

Image credits: Michelle Brand | blogilates.com

Lake Boat

Designed by Tom Davies
Image credits: FijiMe Tour

Pencil/Marker Organizers

Image credits: unknown

Solar Light Bulb

Project by Illac Diaz | worldarchitecturenews.co

Ottoman Seat

Image credits: unknown


Image credits: Michelle Brand

Bottle Cap Decoration

Image credits: Ilya Naymushinvia

Bird Feeder

Source: marghanita.com | FamilyFun Magazine

Napkin Ring

Designed by: Equipe Kazari