Yesterday, September 20th, California became a greener state. Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 1884 bill, sponsored by California Majority Assembly Leader Ian Calderon, which reduces single-use plastic straws at dine-in restaurants beginning January 1, 2019, in California.
There are cities throughout California and the United States that are already doing their part by banning the use of plastic straws and single-use plastic utensils and the list continues to grow. What AB 1884 does for California is that it takes single-use plastic straw awareness to the entire state making California the first state to restrict the use of single-use plastics straws.
"It is a very small step to make a customer who wants a plastic straw ask for it," Brown said in his signing message for AB 1884. "And it might make them pause and think again about an alternative. But one thing is clear, we must find ways to reduce and eventually eliminate single-use plastic products."
Governor Brown stated that the plastic waste problem is not limited to marine life as "microplastics were recently found in tap water around the world. Plastics, in all forms — straws, bottles, packaging, bags, etc. — are choking our planet."
On April 23, 2018, I was asked by Assembly Majority Leader Ian Calderon to provide witness testimony in support of AB 1884 to the CA Assembly Natural Resources Committee. I'm extremely honored to have played a small role in AB 1884's journey to become a law, thank you Assembly Leader Calderon for the opportunity to lend my voice to this historic victory for Mother Nature. You can read my testimony below to the Natural Resources Committee.
Originally posted on 4/24/18:
POWER OF G.I.R.L. Yesterday, 4/23/18, was the first step for AB 1884 to become an official bill! I was asked by California Assembly Majority Leader Ian Calderon to provide witness testimony on behalf of his Bill, AB 1884 - Straws Upon Request. Contrary to what people are saying, this bill does not ban straws, it is as it states - straws upon request. It's a no-brainer, especially when restaurants continue to add a new straw to drinks every time you get a refill. AB 1884 passed the Assembly Natural Resource Committee with a vote of 7 to 3. This is the first step on the journey to help save our oceans, waterways, and planet. Thank you Assembly Leader Calderon for leading the charge, you are a true #changemaker!
Shelby O'Neil - Witness Testimony for AB 1884 - Straws Upon Request (4/23/18)
Thank you, Chairman Muratsuchi, members of the Natural Resources Committee, and Majority Leader Calderon for the opportunity to testify in support of AB 1884 today.
My name is Shelby O'Neil and I'm a 17-year-old junior at San Benito High School in Hollister.
I learned about the problem that plastic pollution poses to our ocean as a volunteer Teen Conservation Leader at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and decided to take action for my Girl Scout Gold Award project.
I founded Jr Ocean Guardians, an organization dedicated to educating people about the problem of plastic pollution and how their efforts can help and hurt our environment.
Through Jr Ocean Guardians, I launched “No Straw November,” a movement to empower kids to make one small change by refusing single-use plastic straws during the month of November. And what a huge impact this small change is having on our oceans, waterways, and planet.
No Straw November not only has participants in all 50 states, but also in Canada, the UK, Scotland, France, Italy, Ireland, Australia, Spain, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, India, The Grand Cayman Islands, Israel, Iran, and more. Government and businesses are starting to notice.
In October, I gained unanimous approval for my “No Straw November” Resolution by the California Coastal Commission and Senate Majority Leader Monning will soon introduce a similar Resolution.
Businesses like Dignity Health, Farmer Brothers, and PG&E, have eliminated straws from their operations which amounts to more than 4 million straws per year. Delta Airlines has found a solution to replace the plastic stir sticks.
Requiring straws upon request may lighten the financial load for the local mom and pops restaurants that need every dollar to keep their business afloat by reducing the number of straws they buy.
People are waking up to the reality that plastic pollution threatens our ocean and our health. This year, Earth Day is dedicated to ending plastic pollution. You have the power to be changemakers and approve AB 1884 to not only make a difference for California's beloved ocean, coasts, and waterways but also to make a difference that will impact our planet.
Thank you, again, Committee members for your time, and Majority Leader Calderon for your leadership on the issue and for the opportunity to testify on behalf of AB 1884 to offer straws only upon request.
I urge each and every one of you to vote in favor of this common-sense legislation.