Ventura County

Plastic Free Ventura

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

February 2020: Ventura City Council took the first steps towards a plastics reduction ordinance as Councilmembers unanimously agreed to move forward with a plastics reduction ordinance. City staff will be coming back with recommendations for City Council to consider in the coming months. In addition to banning EPS foam food ware at restaurants and other food providers, it is important to also ban the retail sales of EPS foam coolers and food ware. They all contribute to the foam that we find at beach cleanups and washed along the shoreline after it rains.

Click Here to sign our action alert that emails all seven Ventura City Councilmembers thanking them for supporting a plastics reduction ordinance for Ventura and urging them to include the retail sales of EPS foam in the ordinance. (Open to City of Ventura residents.) Restaurants can use this form to register support.

Surfrider Ventura’s “Plastic Free Ventura” 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!

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 120 places in California that have local legislation aimed at reducing plastic litter and Ventura should be next! A copy of our proposed ordinance 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.  This photo was taken earlier this year and exemplifies the need to act now on this issue.

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

1. Getting our Plastic Free Ventura postcards signed! We are aiming to present 10,000 signed postcards to Ventura City Council. Email us to learn how you can help us achieve this goal.

       Front of Postcard

Signature Side

2.  Identify restaurants, food trucks, or any other type of food establishments in Ventura that do not use polystyrene or only provide straws or single use plastic upon request and email us the names of those establishments so that we can present this information to Ventura City Council.  Participating Restaurants 

3. Volunteer at our monthly beach cleanups at Surfers’ Point. Click Here for more info.

4.  The items we are seeking to ban are listed below.  When you see this type of litter in Ventura (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 us and identify the location where the litter was found (see example photo below).  This information will then be added to our interactive EPS/Plastics map 

  • 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

5. You can also post a photo to your Instagram (preferred) or Twitter feed with the hashtag #plasticfreeventura and tag @venturavc and please note the location. 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 Ventura 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 Ventura City council to stand up to plastic pollution and find ways to use less plastic. #plasticfreeventura @venturavc

6. 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 begun to ban plastics and has provided their guidelines.

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

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

Please take our eating out survey to help us gather information on resident’s dining habits:

To volunteer for the Plastic Free Ventura campaign please email: