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All of us at Cali Bamboo care about maintaining the beauty of our planet, and we always cringe when we see trash in the ocean or on the beach- especially plastic bags. Every year, over a trillion plastic bags are used worldwide, and many of them end up in the ocean through storm drains and watersheds. Not only is this unsightly, but it also has a devastating effect on our environment. Plastic never biodegrades- it just breaks into smaller and smaller pieces, releasing harmful toxins into our soil and waterways, and harming sea creatures that commonly mistake it for food. The ocean even contains 5 massive gyres of plastic waste that has accumulated into slow rotating whirlpools where it will remain for decades or longer. Much of the plastic waste from California’s coast ends up in the Pacific Central Gyre, where more than 300,000 pieces of particles are found per square mile. Yuck! The negative effects go beyond environmental- California spends $25 million to dispose of the 14 billion plastic bags used in the state annually.

But there’s hope!

Last week California Governor Jerry Brown signed the California plastic bag ban, otherwise known as legislation SB 270, the country’s first statewide ban on single-use plastic shopping bags. Authored by Senator Alex Padilla, the new legislation marks a major milestone for environmental organizations such as Surfrider Foundation, Sierra Club, Environment California, to name a few, all of which have been advocating a California plastic bag ban for years. “This new law will greatly reduce the flow of billions of single-use plastic bags that litter our communities and harm our environment each year,” said Padilla, “Moving from single-use plastic bags to reusable bags is common sense. Governor Brown’s signature reflects our commitment to protect the environment and reduce government costs.” The California plastic bag ban will result in cleaner water, reduced cleanup costs, less litter, healthier wildlife, and more beautiful beaches! Environmentalists rejoice!

What You Need to Know About SB 270

-The ban only applies to large grocery stores.
-The law will take effect July 2015.
-Stores will have a 10 cent paper bag option.

In support of the California plastic bag ban, Cali Bamboo is planning to host several upcycling events to show people how to create their own DIY tote bag from an old t-shirt. Whether you live in California or not, living plastic bag free is easy- all you need is an old t-shirt and a pair of scissors!

How To Make a DIY Tote Bag:

Materials:
-T-shirt (any size!)
-Scissors

Steps:
1) Cut the sleeves and neck off your t-shirt. Cut on the outside of the seam for increased durability.

2) Cut off the bottom of your t-shirt to make it 3 inches longer than the desired length of your bag. You may choose to cut it straight across or make yours like Walker did with a curve along the bottom.

3) Cut fringe strips across the bottom of your shirt. Make them approximately 3 inches long and 1 inch wide. Cut both the front and back of the shirt simultaneously.

4) Double-knot each strip to create the bottom of your bag.

Your DIY tote bag is complete! Remember to stash it in your car so you’re never without it when you visit the grocery store. Now you finally have something to do with that old t-shirt from your high school reunion!

How will you adjust to life after SB 270? Share photos of your reusable bags on the Cali Bamboo Facebook page.

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