Last week we got to hang out with our friends at Patagonia at their saaawwweeet shop in Santa Cruz where the community got together to discuss Voting for the Planet, specifically to ban the plastic bag in California.
At Potaito Boards Headquarters, we take voting seriously. It's our obligation considering we live in a nation that allows us to voice our opinions in a relatively democratic fashion. California has some exciting propositions on the ballot this month including the legalization of marijuana, the enactment of background checks for ammunition buyers and the possible repeal of the death penalty. Whew. Pretty exciting, indeed.
The proposition of the night, however, was Prop 67. To which Prop 65 is intrinsically tied. Here's what we learned:
The issue is essentially Prop 67 (Californian citizens, California Against Waste and the Surfrider Foundation) vs. Prop 65 (the world's largest plastic bag manufacturers).
A "Yes" on the Prop 67 referendum will uphold the legislation enacted by the Legislature in 2014. If this has been enacted in 2014, why are we still voting on it? That's because considerable effort has been put forth to block this ban by the American Progressive Bag Alliance which is made up of, you guessed it, the world's largest plastic bag manufacturers. A "Yes" will also save hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars. Recent studies have identified more than $400 million in local government spending to clean up litter and prevent it from reaching waterways.
Prop 65 has been put on the ballot solely to beat Prop 67. This means you need to vote both "yes" on Prop 67 and "no" on Prop 65 to ban the plastic bag. Otherwise you balance your voting out.
Why do plastic bags suck?
1. They litter! According to a recent study, if we don’t act now, there will be more plastic than fish in our oceans by 2050. Last year, plastic grocery bags were the seventh most common item collected during the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup, behind smaller debris such as cigarette butts, plastic straws, and bottle caps.
2. They harm wildlife! Sea otters, turtles, seals, birds, and fish get tangled within plastic bags or mistake the bags for food. Some animals are strangled to death, while others fill their stomachs with plastic and die slow, painful deaths from starvation.
3. They don't get recycled! Industry efforts to recycle plastic bags have been a huge failure. In fact, plastic bags harm overall recycling efforts because they find their way into recycling bins and clog equipment, costing millions of dollars. The City of San Jose estimated an annual loss of $1 million each year due to plastic bag-related repairs in its facilities.
4. There are invasive! Californian's throw away 14,000,000,000 (14 billion!) plastic bags every year. By some estimates, the number is more than 1,000,000,000,000 (1 trillion) annually worldwide.
Remember to Vote Our Planet, California! We're proud of our beaches, lush forests, and wildlife. Let's keep it that way.
Potaito Boards: Classic Cruiser Skateboards, Minus the Environmental Impact.
Information pulled from: Patagonia's Sustainability Initiative and Yes on 67.