SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. - Environmental advocates took aim at plastic pollution in California at Goleta Beach Pier on Thursday.
Several organizations—including Environment California, the League of Women Voters, CALPIRG, Santa Barbara ChannelKeeper, the Sierra Club, the Surfrider Foundation's Santa Barbara and Isla Vista chapters, Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson and Assemblymember Monique Limón's office—sent representatives to the press conference, which promoted protecting the ocean and the state's beaches.
The advocates are pushing state politicians in Sacramento to pass State Bill 54 and Assembly Bill 1080. They are two versions of the same bill, with one in the senate and one in the state assembly.
"They would both drastically improve recycling practices in California," Environment California's Emma Horst-Martz said.
The bills would do that by setting an ambitious goal: to phase out non-recyclable single-use plastic packaging in the state by 2030. The bills target a 75 percent cut in the state's single-use packaging waste.
If approved by the state legislature, the law would force manufacturers to invest in recyclable plastics in order for their products to be sold in California.
"We saw an outpouring of support from local communities which resulted in local city bans," Horst-Martz said.
Santa Barbara is one example. Just this year, the city has banned polystyrene, commonly known as Styrofoam, takeout containers and single-use plastic straws.
But advocates say the movement needs to go further.
"We're doing our part, but we're not gonna solve the problem by what we do here," Santa Barbara City Councilmember Jason Dominguez said. "We want to create a movement where everyone around the state is following our lead. And then other states and other countries will follow what we're doing here in California."
But even in an environmentally friendly state, none of that is a guarantee.
State politicians will likely need vocal public support to pass the bills, as the plastics industry will likely push back against the strict standards.
"We need everyone on board," Dominguez said. "Spark up conversations with their friends and family in the area, out of the area. Use social media. Talk to your elected officials. Just really make it a part of your daily life and your conversation."