California Passes Ban on . . . Hotel Shampoo Bottles

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, one of the five gyres that collect most of the plastic pollution in the world's oceans.

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.

The latest from California:

Those small shampoo and conditioner bottles, popular with travelers but unpopular with anti-plastics advocates, would be banned in California hotels under a bill that cleared the state Assembly on Wednesday.

I’m not sure why I hate performative crap like this so much, but I do. Hotel shampoo bottles probably make up something like 0.001 percent of all the plastic used in California, but banning them doesn’t annoy anyone who votes, so I suppose this was a no-brainer. If legislators were actually serious about reducing plastic waste, they’d skip the shampoo ban and go straight to supporting AB1080:

New legislation announced [in February] would require plastic and other single-use materials sold in California to be either reusable, fully recyclable or compostable by 2030. The measure would also require the state to recycle or otherwise divert from landfills 75% of single-use plastic packaging and products sold or distributed in California, up from the 44% of all solid waste that was diverted as of 2017.

“We have to stop treating our oceans and planet like a dumpster,” said Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), an author of the proposal. “Any fifth-grader can tell you that our addiction to single-use plastics is killing our ecosystems.”

Even this is a milquetoast measure. A few weeks ago the entire continent of Europe agreed to ban single-use plastics by 2021:

The law, which was supported by 560 Members of the European Parliament against 35 on Wednesday, stipulates that 10 single-use plastic items will be banned in order to curb ocean pollution. MEPs also agreed a target to collect and recycle 90% of beverage bottles by 2029.

….The new plans come after the EC found that plastics make up more than 80% of marine litter, which has disastrous effects on wildlife and habitats. The EU parliament notes that because of its slow rate of decomposition, plastic residue has been found in marine species as well as fish and shellfish — and therefore also makes its way into the human food chain.

This law passed 560-35! Here in the United States, the greenest state in the nation could just barely pass a ban on hotel shampoo bottles. What the hell is wrong with us?

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate