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It's Time, Oceanside!

After a multi-year campaign by Surfrider San Diego activists and engaged community advocates, the Oceanside City Council will decide whether or not to move forward with a single-use plastic reduction ordinance on Wednesday, August 23, 2023.

The ordinance is poised to set a timeline for phasing-out polystyrene foam (StyrofoamTM) by June 1, 2024 and single-use plastic carryout bags by July 1, 2025. If the neighboring cities of Carlsbad, Vista, and San Marcos, along with many others across the county, including the City of San Diego, and over 130 municipalities statewide can successfully eliminate problematic single-use plastics, then it’s time for Oceanside to take action too!

Recent victories in North County make us hopeful; however, success is definitely not guaranteed. Oceanside has declined opportunities to address plastic pollution in the past. For example, in 2021, several council members objected to a proposed foam ban for restaurants that excluded other types of businesses. We heard their concerns and the ordinance currently under discussion will phase out polystyrene foam equitably across all businesses.

To further create a level playing field, we also recommended an expansion of the California bag law to include retail and restaurants. As it stands, the statewide ban applies to grocery and liquor stores, pharmacies, and food marts. Consequently, we pay $0.10 for reusable or recyclable paper bags at the supermarket when we forget our own but not at hardware stores or local takeout spots. Statewide, over 80 cities (including Encinitas, Del Mar, and Carlsbad) have passed ordinances to ensure that the State’s bag law applies across the board to all businesses. 

Californians have become used to bringing their reusable bags to grocery stores, and we hope that the ordinance will incentivize customers to bring their own bags wherever they make purchases, especially to restaurants where reusables are extremely rare and flimsy single-use plastic bags are still the norm. 

Our voices must be heard in order to ensure that the first reading passes unanimously. To that end, please let the City Council know that you want Oceanside to take action against harmful single-use plastics on August 23rd.

To express your support now, please complete the easy-to-use Agenda Item Position Slip linked below:


Council Meeting Date: August 23, 2023

Agenda #: 36

Subject: In support of the Marine Debris Reduction Ordinance (or something similar)

Position: In Favor

First Name, Last Name: Required

Oceanside Resident: Optional (If you are an Oceanside resident, please select yes)

Address: Optional (If you are an Oceanside resident, please include)

Comments: Optional (We encourage everyone to add a personal comment, which can be a brief statement of support or you can include detailed information related to plastic pollution. Either way, please make sure you let the City Council know that you want them to take action on single-use plastics and urge them to vote in favor of the Marine Debris Reduction Ordinance.) Feel free to use our talking points HERE

If you prefer email over the Position Slip, please send your comments to and write "Please support Item #36, the Marine Debris Ordinance on August 23rd" in the subject line.

To further support our effort in Oceanside, join us for one of our Sunset Strike Team Beach Cleanups taking place in August. To participate, register HERE

For inspiration, watch Surfrider Foundation's The Dirtiest Beach Day of the Year video. Most of the footage was taken in Oceanside on July 1st and July 5th.  

If you would like additional information, please email

Volunteers gather in front of the Surfrider tent at the Oceanside beach cleanup. Plastic bags, bottles and other debris from the cleanup are laid out on a towel in front of them.Oceanside Pier Beach Cleanup on August 5, 2023

Trash cans overflowing at the beach near Oceanside pier, with piles of trash around the cans.Overflowing Trash Cans on the Strand in Oceanside