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San Diego County Chapter

RAP Resources

RAP Facts

  • If plastic production is’t curbed plastic pollution with outweigh fish pound for pound by 2050.
  • The amount of plastic produced from 2000 – 2010 exceeds the amount produced during the entire last century.[1]
  • Plastic is the most common type of marine litter worldwide.[2], [3]
  • Up to 80% of the plastic in our oceans comes from land-based sources. [4], [5][6]
  • Plastics comprise up to 90% of floating marine debris.[7]
  • In 2010 about 690,000 tons of waste HDPE plastic “bags, sacks and wraps” were generated in the United States, but only 4.3% of this total was recycled.[8]
  • Plastics do not biodegrade, but instead break down into small particles that persist in the ocean, absorb toxins, and enter our food chain through fish, sea birds and other marine life.[9]
  • Plastic bags are problematic in the litter stream because they float easily in the air and water, traveling long distances and never fully breaking down in water.
  • Cleanup of plastic bags is costly. California spends $25 million annually to landfill discarded plastic bags, and public agencies spend more than $300 million annually in litter cleanup. [10][11]
  • It is estimated that Americans go through about 100 billion plastic bags a year, or 360 bags per year for every man, woman and child in the country.[12]

See even more RAP Facts here.

Rise Above Plastics Activist Toolkit

Help reduce plastic waste in your community with the Rise Above Plastics Activist Toolkit!  This is a step by step guide to creating positive change in your community through reducing single-use plastics.  The RAP Toolkit is focused on establishing a plastic bag ban or similar ordinance and it also offers insight on increasing awareness of plastic pollution issues through education and outreach.

Plastic Bag Law Activist Toolkit

Surfrider Foundation has helped pass an astounding 107 single-use plastic bag laws to date, but – with billions of single-use plastic bags still entering the waste and litter stream every year – there is more to be done.  As part of Surfrider Foundation’s Rise Above Plastics program, Surfrider recently partnered with Jennie Romer, Esq. from PlasticBagLaws.org to create our new U.S. Plastic Bag Law Activist Toolkit. Over the past decade, plastic bag laws in the U.S. have developed nuances in response to effectiveness concerns, state constitutional issues, and lawsuits. In the toolkit, we summarize the collective wisdom gained from drafting and implementing plastic bag laws.

This toolkit is a supplement to Surfrider’s Rise Above Plastics Activist Toolkit, which gives an overview of the problems of single-use plastics and outlines plastics reduction laws. Our new toolkit delves exclusively into the details of best practices for drafting plastic bag laws, including the ten important clauses to consider. It provides a comprehensive look at the harms of plastic carryout bags, recommended ordinance structures, important clauses to include, effectiveness data, how to spearhead a community movement, and the threat of preemption.