Ventura County

Plastic Free Ventura County

Single-use plastics collected at Surfrider beach cleanup at C Street on 7/20/18.

Surfrider Ventura’s “Plastic Free Ventura County” campaign launched on Earth Day in 2018 as a response to the amount of single-use plastic litter that volunteers are collecting at local beach cleanups. Some of the common items collected include straws, expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam (TM “Styrofoam”), plastic and bioplastic cups and utensils. Scientists estimate that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by volume – unless we act now!

After our Plastic-Free Ventura County campaign resulted in Ventura City Council’s unanimous passing of an expanded polystyrene (aka EPS or “styrofoam”) ban last Fall, we’ve set our sights on Port Hueneme! To get the ball rolling, we’re once again asking for members to take photos of discarded plastics and EPS all around Port Hueneme’s streets, beaches, and parks.  Please send your pictures to julimarciel@gmail.com with the subject line:Port Hueneme Plastic/EPS photos.

Victories: EPS and/or Single Use Bans in Ventura County

Plastics and bioplastics are not marine biodegradable, but instead, photodegrades into smaller pieces of plastic causing pollution that is virtually impossible to remediate. When plastic enters our waterways, it adsorbs toxic chemicals such as DDT, PCBs, PAHs, and flame retardants that can be found in our waterways. For more information on the Rise Against Plastics (RAP) campaign, click here.

To replace EPS foam and disposable plastic, we encourage restaurants and consumers to choose reusable options whenever possible. AB 619, which passed into statewide law in 2019, in part clarifies existing health code laws, ensuring that the public can bring reusable containers to restaurants for take-out.

California AB 1884, which went into effect on January 1, 2019, requires that plastic straws at full service dine in restaurants are only provided upon request. The Environmental Health Department of the Ventura County Resource Management Association is responsible for enforcing this statewide plastic straw law throughout Ventura County. There is a notification form for non-compliance on their webpage here. While this is a step in the right direction, most plastic straws we find at beach cleanups come from take-out establishments. Join us in urging Ventura City Council to pass a more comprehensive plastics reduction law including a ban on plastic straws at all food and beverage establishments in the City of Ventura while offering alternative straws upon request.

There are over 140 jurisdictions in California that have local legislation aimed at reducing plastic litter and Port Hueneme should be next!  A copy of our proposed ordinance for Port Hueneme will be made available on this website later in the year.  This photo of the drain at the end of Figueroa St. in Ventura is located on the beach and drains directly into the ocean and exemplifies the need to act now!

HOW CAN YOU HELP?  Our campaign is seeking volunteers to help with:

1.  Identify restaurants, food trucks, or any other type of food establishments in Port Hueneme that do not use polystyrene or only provide straws or single use plastic upon request and email julimarciel@gmail.com with the subject line:Port Hueneme Restaurant Information. Include the names of those establishments so that we can present this information to the Port Hueneme City Council.  

2. Until we can all meet up again in a group, participate in your own solo cleanups at the beach, parks, and neighborhoods in Port  Hueneme. Check out our Blog Post for more information on Solo Clean Ups.

3.  The items we are seeking to ban are listed below.  When you see this type of litter in Port Hueneme (e.g., beach, parks, parking lots, sidewalks, gutters, etc.), please photograph the litter.  If possible, please collect and dispose of the litter as well. Email photographs to julimarciel@gmail.com with the subject line:Port Hueneme and identify the location where the litter was found (see example photo below). 

  • Expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam to-go containers, plates & cups at restaurants
  • Any disposable items made from rigid #6 polystyrene such as cups and lids at restaurants
  • EPS foam to-go containers, plates & cups at retail stores
  • EPS foam coolers at retail stores
  • Plastic and bioplastic straws
  • Plastic and bioplastic cups
  • Plastic and bioplastic plates
  • Plastic and bioplastic stirrers
  • Plastic and bioplastic lid plugs (e.g., coffee)
  • Plastic and bioplastic utensils
  • Plastic and bioplastic condiment/salsa cups

4. You can also post a photo with location to your Instagram (preferred) or Facebook feed with the hashtag #PlasticFreePortHueneme and tag @surfridervc (Instagram) or @surfriderventura (Facebook). We would especially love to see your photos on social media to help spread the word to friends and family. Here’s an example of how to keep it positive:

“I love Port Hueneme but hate to see plastic litter around town. It’s not only an eyesore, it also impacts our ocean and wildlife that we love. Let’s encourage Port Hueneme City Council to stand up to plastic pollution and find ways to use less plastic. #plasticfreePortHueneme @Surfridervc”

5. There are numerous companies that manufacture products that degrade naturally and are recyclable that can replace the items we are seeking to ban.  Here is link to the City of Malibu’s plastic free guidelines and examples of compliant foodware.  Manhattan Beach has also began to ban plastics and has provided their guidelines.

6. Latest news on the negative impact of EPS and Plastics on our environment and us.

7. Latest steps being taken to reduce or ban EPS and Plastics impact

Please take our eating out survey to help us gather information on Port Hueneme and Oxnard Restaurant Practices Survey and/or Resident’s Dining Habits:

To volunteer for the Plastic Free Ventura County campaign please email: rap@ventura.surfrider.org