Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

100th Plastic Bag Ban Passed in California

The San Rafael City Council voted unanimously yesterday to ban single-use plastic bags citywide. The decision makes San Rafael the 100th California community to ban plastic bags, according to Environment California.

Single use plastic bags are the most common source of garbage that litter California's beaches. Photo credit: NOAA

Nearly one in three Californians—12.3 million in all—currently live somewhere with a plastic bag ban, and the statewide movement doesn't appear to be slowing down. In Dec. 2013, the California Court of Appeals upheld San Francisco’s expanded plastic bag ban, in a lawsuit brought on by the Save the Plastic Bag Coalition, marking the latest in a series of failed legal challenges to local ordinances by the plastics industry and its allies.

“This important step forward for San Rafael shows yet again that we can achieve lasting victories for ocean and environmental health,” said Nathan Weaver with Environment California. “The experience of 100 communities and one in three Californians shows that banning plastic bags is the right choice to protect our rivers, beaches and the Pacific Ocean. I applaud our local governments for their leadership on this issue.”

Plastic bags are one of the most common garbage items on California’s beaches, posing direct threats to marine environments. Many animals, such as fish and sea turtles, confuse the floating bags for food and ingesting them can have grave consequences. 

A 2012 report by the Bay Area Stormwater Management Agencies Association found that plastic shopping bags alone make up as much as eight percent of the garbage that reaches the San Francisco Bay.

Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, Richmond, Oakland and Long Beach, among others have also banned plastic bags. A statewide plastic bag ban bill, introduced by Sen. Padilla, Sen. de León and Sen. Lara, is pending before the California State Legislature.

Visit EcoWatch’s BIODIVERSITY page for more related news on this topic.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Pexels

By Shawna Foo

Anyone who's tending a garden right now knows what extreme heat can do to plants. Heat is also a concern for an important form of underwater gardening: growing corals and "outplanting," or transplanting them to restore damaged reefs.

Read More Show Less
Malte Mueller / Getty Images

By David Korten

Our present course puts humans on track to be among the species that expire in Earth's ongoing sixth mass extinction. In my conversations with thoughtful people, I am finding increasing acceptance of this horrific premise.

Read More Show Less
Women sort potatoes in the Andes Mountains near Cusco Peru on July 7, 2014. Thomas O'Neill / NurPhoto / Getty Images

By Alejandro Argumedo

August 9 is the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples – a celebration of the uniqueness of the traditions of Quechua, Huli, Zapotec, and thousands of other cultures, but also of the universality of potatoes, bananas, beans, and the rest of the foods that nourish the world. These crops did not arise out of thin air. They were domesticated over thousands of years, and continue to be nurtured, by Indigenous people. On this day we give thanks to these cultures for the diversity of our food.

Read More Show Less
A sand tiger shark swims over the USS Tarpon in Monitor National Marine Sanctuary. Tane Casserley / NOAA

By John R. Platt

Here at The Revelator, we love a good shark story.

The problem is, there aren't all that many good shark stories. According to recent research, sharks and their relatives represent one of the world's most imperiled groups of species. Of the more than 1,250 known species of sharks, skates, rays and chimeras — collectively known as chondrichthyan fishes — at least a quarter are threatened with extinction.

Read More Show Less
The Anderson Community Group. Left to right, Caroline Laur, Anita Foust, the Rev. Bryon Shoffner, and Bill Compton, came together to fight for environmental justice in their community. Anderson Community Group

By Isabella Garcia

On Thanksgiving Day 2019, right after Caroline Laur had finished giving thanks for her home, a neighbor at church told her that a company had submitted permit requests to build an asphalt plant in their community. The plans indicated the plant would be 250 feet from Laur's backdoor.

Read More Show Less
Berber woman cooks traditional flatbread using an earthen oven in her mud-walled village home located near the historic village of Ait Benhaddou in Morocco, Africa on Jan. 4, 2016. Creative Touch Imaging Ltd. /NurPhoto / Getty Images

By Danielle Nierenberg and Jason Flatt

The world's Indigenous Peoples face severe and disproportionate rates of food insecurity. While Indigenous Peoples comprise 5 percent of the world's population, they account for 15 percent of the world's poor, according to the World Health Organization.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Danny Choo / CC BY-SA 2.0

By Olivia Sullivan

One of the many unfortunate outcomes of the coronavirus pandemic has been the quick and obvious increase in single-use plastic products. After COVID-19 arrived in the United States, many grocery stores prohibited customers from using reusable bags, coffee shops banned reusable mugs, and takeout food with plastic forks and knives became the new normal.

Read More Show Less