Stopped Pollution Hero

Stopped Pollution

Save The Bay has been a leader in reducing plastic pollution in the Bay. In partnership with other local, regional, and statewide organizations, we advocated for dozens of local bans on plastic bags, Styrofoam, and outdoor smoking to reduce toxic trash flows to the Bay.

Stopped Pollution Hero

Stopped Pollution

Save The Bay has been a leader in reducing plastic pollution in the Bay. In partnership with other local, regional, and statewide organizations, we advocated for dozens of local bans on plastic bags, Styrofoam, and outdoor smoking to reduce toxic trash flows to the Bay.

Bags, Styrofoam & Plastics

Plastic bags and polystyrene (Styrofoam) foodware were two of the most common plastic pollutants plaguing local waterways and the San Francisco Bay. Over the last decade, Save The Bay advocated for dozens of city and county bans on these products, significantly decreasing plastic pollution in the Bay. As a result, more than 80 cities have adopted local bag bans, paving the way for a statewide bag ban. Also, close to 50 cities have adopted local bans on Styrofoam take-out food containers. The map below provides detail on local bag and Styrofoam bans in the Bay Area.

California bans the bag

Thanks to tireless advocacy by Save The Bay and a strong coalition of organizations, businesses, and elected leaders throughout California, voters adopted Proposition 67 in November 2016, upholding a 2014 state bill (SB 270) that banned plastic bags at grocery stores and other large stores across the state. Prop 67 was a referendum on SB 270, giving voters the final say on whether or not the statewide bag ban would remain the law.

Bay Area cities built the foundation for a statewide ban by adopting local policies, starting with San Francisco in 2007. Save The Bay directly advocated for dozens of these local bans at countless city council meetings across the region.

Read more about how we helped pave the way for a statewide ban on plastic bags.

Proposition 65—and the plastic bag industry—defeated

Fearing that other states might follow California’s lead in banning the bag, the plastic bag industry made a last-ditch effort to thwart this smart environmental policy. Out-of-state bag manufacturers spent millions to place Prop 65 on the November 2016 ballot, hoping to confuse voters and divide the Prop 67 coalition. But voters saw right through their tactics, rejecting Prop 65 and putting the environment first.


Butt Free Bay

Toxic tobacco litter is one of the worst pollution problems facing the Bay today. Over the last few years, Save The Bay has fought and won state and local policies to limit outdoor smoking and keep cigarette butts out of the Bay.

East Bay Regional Park District adopts strong smoking restrictions at all parks

Save The Bay named the Martinez Regional Shoreline—a park within the East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD)—a cigarette butt litter hotspot in 2015. Upon discovering that the District lacked a smoke-free policy, Save The Bay organized a regional coalition of environmental organizations, tobacco prevention organizations, and public health agencies to urge the EBRPD Board to adopt a policy. A strong smoke-free policy was finally adopted in 2016, restricting smoking everywhere except campgrounds in all of the District’s parks.

Save The Bay advocates for smoke-free city policies throughout the region

Our Butt Free Bay campaign celebrated victories throughout the region in limiting outdoor smoking to keep cigarette butts and other tobacco waste out of local creeks and the Bay. The following cities adopted or amended their smoke-free outdoor policies due to advocacy by Save The Bay and local partners: San Mateo, Sunnyvale, El Cerrito, Burlingame, Palo Alto, and Berkeley.

Keeping butts out of the Bay

In a resounding victory for Save The Bay’s Butt Free Bay Campaign, 63 percent of Californians said Yes to Proposition 56 in November 2016, which increased California’s tobacco tax by $2 per pack effective April 1, 2017. This cost increase will decrease smoking rates, meaning less toxic cigarette butts draining from our streets and sidewalks into creeks that lead to the Bay.