California could be the first U.S. state to adopt a comprehensive approach to plastic waste reduction

It’s motivating to see how quickly plastic pollution awareness has grown around the world. Awareness is a critical first step in the global movement to rethink plastic and end the global plastic waste problem. But much more must be done to effectively act on plastic.

We need to stop and prevent plastic pollution before the effects are insurmountable. There is hope. We all need to act on plastic. 

The‌ ‌most‌ ‌effective way to solve global plastic pollution is to eliminate single-use plastic ‌products‌ (made and designed only to be used once)‌, ‌reduce ‌plastic packaging through source reduction* and implement effective waste management. In order for that to occur, producers and suppliers need new requirements to follow and by which to comply. Implementing new laws will ensure that companies, and their supply chains will properly eliminate single-use plastic and reduce plastic packaging. (*Source reduction means transitioning from single-use packaging or a priority single-use product, to refillable or reusable packaging or a reusable product.)

California ‌has‌ ‌a great example of legislation to implement plastic waste and plastic packaging policy. It’s leading‌an‌ ‌unprecedented‌ ‌effort‌ ‌to‌ ‌reduce‌ ‌waste‌ ‌from‌ ‌single-use‌ plastic ‌packaging‌ ‌and‌ ‌products‌, ‌ensure‌ essential ‌plastic‌ is‌ ‌designed‌ efficiently and effectively for reuse, recycling or compost; and implement effective plastic waste management. 

Known as the California‌ ‌Circular‌ ‌Economy‌ ‌and‌ ‌Pollution‌ ‌Reduction ‌Act – Senate Bill 54 (SB 54) and Assembly Bill 1080 (AB 1080) – If passed, the law will:

  1. Require all single-use plastic packaging and products sold or distributed in California to be reduced or recycled by 75% by 2030; 
  2. Require all single-use packaging and products to be recyclable or compostable on and after 2030; and 
  3. CalRecycle would develop incentives and policies to encourage in-state manufacturing using recycled material generated in California.

Plastic Oceans and ocean exploration and conservation nonprofit, Kolossal, are partners in the Act on Plastic campaign to increase awareness about and support for SB 54/AB 1080. We’re advocating for California state lawmakers to vote in favor of the legislation.

HOW to Act On Plastic in California:

  1. Sign the petition to support the legislation.
  2. Watch the Act on Plastic film to learn more. 
  3. Contact your legislators and urge them to support the California‌ ‌Circular‌ ‌Economy‌ ‌and‌ Pollution‌ ‌Reduction ‌Act in the Senate (SB 54) and Assembly (AB 1080). (Find your California state representatives online.)

Why it’s important

As individuals, we can reduce personal consumption by simply refusing to use single-use plastic products, one item at a time. In rethinking plastic, we condition ourselves away from using, disposing and creating harmful consequences for our environment.

While important and helpful, it’s not enough for only some companies and communities to change policies, one plastic straw ban, plastic bag ban or plastic packaging policy at a time. Large-scale corporate change is essential for producers to reassess and redesign products ‌for efficient ‌and‌ ‌effective reuse,‌ ‌recycling ‌or‌ ‌composting. This requires legal compliance, and new laws must be passed to enforce policies. 

Companies ‌generate ‌millions‌ ‌of‌ ‌tons‌ ‌of‌ ‌single-use‌ ‌packaging‌ ‌and‌ ‌non-recyclable‌, ‌non-compostable‌ ‌products‌ ‌‌that‌ ‌often‌ ‌end‌ ‌up‌ ‌in‌ ‌our‌ ‌environment.‌ It’s essential to have corporations involved in eliminating single-use plastic ‌products‌ and ‌reducing ‌plastic packaging. Governments must implement laws to dictate corporate policy and implement effective waste management in our communities.

Our health, food chain, and environment are threatened by our plastic use and practices, individual and corporate. Existing operations and applications aren’t sustainable. Change is essential to correct the global plastic pollution problem. While it may seem aggressive or difficult, it’s the only way to tackle and ultimately end plastic pollution.




Julie Andersen
Global Executive Director

Plastic Oceans International