Statewide Bag Ban Vote coming up!!

Ban The Bag California!

Support Assembly Bill 298 to reduce plastic pollution!

The California State Legislature is considering a bill that would ban plastic checkout bags at supermarkets, retail pharmacies and convenience stores statewide starting in 2014. Assembly Bill 298 would also require those retailers to provide reusable bags for sale and charge a fee for recycled paper bags as an incentive for customers to remember their reusable bags. California could be the first in the nation to pass a statewide plastic bag ban but it won’t happen without your support!

Our California coasts are valuable drivers of a tourism industry worth billions of dollars and thousands of jobs in our state. It is important to have sound policies to keep our beaches clean and maintain healthy ecosystems. In fact, over 50 local jurisdictions in California have already seen the importance of this action and banned plastic bags. Please let your State Senator know you support this legislation and a phasing out of plastic checkout bags statewide!


Bag Bag Update and New RAP Tab on blog!

Last Thursday, the Humboldt Waste Management Authority (HWMA) voted unanimously to start the Initial Study to plan for the bag ban ordinance! Once that is complete, in 60-90 days, the Board will know which direction needs to be taken…a full EIR or a Negative Declaration. Many thanks to everyone that phoned in and left comments to the Board and attended the meeting!

Want more information about Surfrider’s Rise Above Plastics campaign? Check out our updated blog! We added a tab to our site dedicated to one of our most important and active campaigns. Find out more about plastic pollution, what you can do to reduce your plastic footprint, what’s going on with a Humboldt bag ban, check the links to our allies, and get involved.

To share our enthusiasm for RAP, we want you to (re)watch Tim Minchin’s call for action! Hysterical and poignant, all wrapped up in one epic song.

Day Without A Bag!

Surfrider Humboldt and Humboldt Baykeeper are partnering to bring you Day Without (a disposable) Bag on 15 December at Wildberries, Ray’s Arcata, Ray’s McKinleyville, and Eureka Natural Foods.  Day Without a Bag was started by Heal the Bay with the goal of reducing the use of environmentally harmful single-use plastic bags by empowering individuals to take simple and direct actions to eliminate the use of disposable shopping bags.  Surfrider Humboldt and Humboldt Baykeeper will be encouraging shoppers to stop by our information booths and to bring in a t-shirt that we will make into a reusable bag.  Your new bag will then get screen printed with our Ban the Bag Humboldt logo.  A single reusable bag has the potential to replace over 1,000 single-use bags in its lifetime, saving a significant amount of resources. We hope this one day of action will encourage people to go plastic free during the holiday shopping season and throughout 2012.

You can help our effort in several ways:

  • Volunteer for the event
  • Volunteer for our pre-Day Without a Bag work party
  • Help provide or loan needed supplies for the event
    • Plywood to make into Ban the Bag boards
    • Blue and white paint and supplies
    • Extension cords
    • Heat guns to dry screen print
    • Donate T-shirts

Please contact for more information or to volunteer.

What will we do without free plastic bags?!

Here’s some decidedly entertaining ideas:


California Supreme Court rules in fight over plastic bags

from the Sacramento Bee:

Anti-plastic-bag forces got a boost today when the California Supreme Court ruled that an environmental impact report is not necessary before a city or county bans the use of plastic shopping bags.

The decision strikes down rulings by trial and appellate courts in Los Angeles in the legal fight over an ordinance enacted in 2008 by the south coastal city of Manhattan Beach banning “point-of-sale plastic carry-out bags.”

Both courts said the city had to prepare an EIR before implementing its ban.

“We disagree,” a unanimous Supreme Court stated. “Substantial evidence and common sense support the city’s determination that its ordinance would have no significant environmental effect.”

Therefore, the court added, the city’s unilateral declaration of no negative impact “was sufficient to comply with the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act.”

In the much-anticipated opinion, the high court, as did the two lower courts, upheld the right of a group of manufacturers and distributors called Save The Plastic Bag Coalition to sue Manhattan Beach over the ordinance.

The court said it disapproves of a 2000 state appellate decision holding that corporations are subject to heightened scrutiny when they file citizen suits. Besides, the justices added, Save The Plastic Bag Coalition, “which represents businesses directly affected by the Manhattan Beach ordinance, has standing in its own right to challenge the city’s analysis of environmental impacts.”

The case has been closely watched by numerous California cities and counties that have or are considering similar measures. San Francisco led the way in 2007 with the nation’s first citywide ban on non-biodegradable plastic bags at supermarkets and chain drugstores.

California, Ban the Foam!

What’s this all about?

California Senate Bill (SB) 568, introduced to help prevent foam litter in the marine environment, passed the CA State Senate in May and is headed to the State Assembly soon! Surfrider Foundation is a co-sponsor of this bill along with Clean Water Action and a big reason that this bill was able to make it through the State Senate was because of grassroots efforts from volunteers and supporters just like you!

What’s It Do?

SB 568 would prohibit a food vendor or restaurant from dispensing prepared food to a customer in a polystyrene foam food container starting in 2015. The compliance date for public schools would be one year later. The bill would also allow a city or school district that has a verifiable recycling program and recycles more than 60% of its foam foodware to continue to dispense food in foam after the ban goes in effect.

Why does it matter?

Expanded polystyrene foam (EPS) is pervasive in the marine environment and like most plastics, polystyrene is lightweight and floats. When littered, it can be carried from streets and through storm drains out to the ocean. 60-80 percent of all marine debris and 90 percent of floating debris are plastic. In the environment, the containers break down into smaller and smaller pieces and are easily mistaken for food by marine animals. On top of the plastic pollution issues, styrene was recently added to the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services list of substances anticipated to cause cancer in humans.

How you can help:

1) Sign Surfrider’s online action alert which is updated for the State Assembly now.
2) Print out the petition and get signatures to help show support in your local community.
3) Follow Yes on SB 568 on facebook and suggest it to your friends!
4) Documenting foam litter that you see. More evidence is always helpful, you can email photos and stories to Surfrider Humboldt.

Plastic Bag Ban on HWMA agenda, Thursday night!

Plastic Bag Ban Ordinance at HWMA Tomorrow!

Join us at the Humboldt Waste Management Authority Board meeting tomorrow, Thursday, April 14th, at 6:30 PM at Eureka City Hall Council Chambers (5th and K St., Eureka) where they will be reviewing a county-wide plastic bag ban! We have been working with Baykeeper to show public support for a county-wide ban and need you to come out and show your support to the HWMA Board!

The plastic bag ordinance will be set-up buffet-style for each city within Humboldt County and we will ask for your support in the future to join us at your city council meeting to encourage the adoption of a plastic bag ban and paper bag fee.