If you heard my interview yesterday on NPR’s All Things Considered--California Plastic Bag Referendum Could Spark [an] Environmental Showdown, or read last week's Washington Post piece noting "the plastic bag lobby is surprisingly tough," you know that the rest of the country is starting to realize what we’re up against, and what’s at stake in the fight to protect California’s first-in-the-nation ban on single-use plastic bags.
From Bisbee, Arizona to Tybee Island, Georgia, plastic bag corporations are bullying communities trying to enact local bag bans, just like they did when they sued 12 California cities and counties. In state legislatures, they are lobbying to pass statewide laws that prevent local bans. And of course here in California, the statewide ban that Californians Against Waste sponsored in 2014 is being targeted South Carolina and Texas plastic bag companies that already have spent over $7 million, and are expected to spend up to $40 to $50 million, in this state alone. The plastic bag companies think that if their referendum succeeds in repealing California’s statewide ban, other states and local communities throughout the country will fall into line, and that they can continue to sell over a hundred billion single-use plastic bags in the country every year.
As you probably know, these plastic bags never biodegrade, but instead contribute to the plastic soup that was the focus of a recent report in the Journal Science that found the world collectively dumps 8 million metric tons of plastic into our oceans every year. These bags attract environmental toxins, breakdown into small floating pieces and contribute to the plastic that 1 million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals die every year from eating, according to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Just last week on the beaches of Halifax, Canada, a whale was found dead from eating plastic bags. And recent studies show that the Great Barrier Reef, one of the world’s greatest natural treasures, is choking to death on billions of bits of tiny indigestible plastic.
But Phillip Rosenski, Director of marketing and sustainability at South Carolina plastic bag maker Novolex, told NPR that there’s not really much to worry about. "The environmental concerns that were raised were mostly hyperbole. A lot of it was exaggerated fact," he says.
Will you donate today to show the country and the world that California can successfully lead an effort in this country to stop companies like Novolex? With individual donations from supporters like you, Californians Against Waste is turning a grassroots movement growing in communities across the state into a competitive campaign that can defeat the plastic bag companies’ referendum campaign. The plastic bag companies will hire an army of Rosenskis and spend tens of millions of dollars on paid advertising. We need your help to make sure that this time they can’t pull a plastic bag over the eyes of voters in California, or across the country.