Plastic Pollution

California Law Would Outlaw Small Shampoo, Conditioner Bottles in Hotels

A supporter says the move is "symbolic."


The jury has rendered its verdict: plastic is polluting our oceans, and it's a problem. But it's one that won't be solved by straw bans or prohibitions on single-use plastics.

Yet California is poised to do just that with Assembly Bill 1162, which would require that hotels and miscellaneous vacation rentals phase out small plastic bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and body lotion by January 1, 2023. Instead, they'll need to opt for refillable dispensers or containers that hold 12 or more ounces of product.

"We know we have an enormous problem with our world, we've become addicted to [plastic] and it's caused a major dilemma environmentally," Democratic Assemblymember Ash Kalra (District 27), who introduced the legislation, told ABC News.

He isn't wrong. A great deal of the plastic panic centers around the Great Pacific Garbage Patch—the infamous and mammoth collection of trash floating between Hawaii and California. Its discovery in 1997 and the years-long news coverage that followed prompted a worldwide frenzy to declutter the oceans. Measuring more than 1.6 million square kilometers (and growing), it is about three times the size of France, and more than twice the size of Texas.

But it isn't dominated by plastic straws, bags, or erstwhile shampoo bottles. As Andrew Glover points out over at Quillette, the vast majority of the debris is composed of fishing-related accessories, like nets, ropes, and baskets. An estimated 20 percent came from the 2011 Japanese tsunami.

So what about those single-use plastic items—from water bottles to straws to bags—that have drummed up such animus among environmentalists and animal lovers alike? Approximately 40 percent of plastics are produced for such purposes, according to a study by Roland Geyer, a professor of Environmental Science and Management at the University of California, Santa Barbara and supporter of California's hotel plastic ban bill.

Precisely how much of that ends up in the ocean is unclear. But recent data show that 60 percent of mismanaged plastic waste, which often makes its way into the water, comes from East Asia and the Pacific. North America—which typically processes its waste quite efficiently—has less than 1 percent.

We do know that 8 million tons of plastic in total enters the ocean annually. But Glover also notes that a hefty chunk of that comes from microplastics: tiny pieces of debris that measure less than five millimeters long. Those are often digested by birds and fish. The thought is a queasy one, particularly when considering that those animals make it onto many a dinner plate, pushing the carcinogenic substance back up the food chain. But it's a misconception that single-use plastics are pushing that problem—most microplastics come from the breakdown of synthetic car tires and from washing synthetic clothes.

That California's bill will have little tangible impact is not lost on its supporters. "It's mostly symbolic, but symbols can be powerful," Geyer said. "Hopefully it will show consumers we can stop using plastic products and realize we won't miss them." But that symbol fails to capture the actual problem—which is one that has far more to do with abandoned fishing gear, synthetic fibers, and mismanaged waste in the developing world than it does with complimentary bottles of shampoo.

NEXT: If Congress Does Not Change Federal Gun Laws, Kamala Harris Promises, She Will Do It by Presidential Fiat

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  1. It doesn't matter if it helps... It's about muh FEELS.

    1. It just never ends with these fucking faggots in CA. Those progtards really should be culled.

  2. Next up: single use condoms.

    1. Just flip them inside out.

      1. Eewwwh. That's disgusting, UniCabatt!

  3. People who cite the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch" should be required to show a picture of it. I challenge the author to correctly identify a picture of the sea taken in the middle of that area from a picture of sea taken elsewhere.

    The "Great Pacific Garbage Patch" is a statistical measure of pollution in one area. It is essentially impossible to identify with the naked eye.

    1. Right on! The same goes for climate change. Show me a picture of this rising carbpn dioxide or STFU. If I can't see it, it doesn't exist. That worked for me when I was two and didn't yet grasp object permanence, and it works for me now.

      1. Which is why radio never caught on? Can't see, can't touch it, can't smell it; it doesn't exist. Same thing for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, right?

        1. You can detect radio waves, you can measure plastic particulates, you can measure CO2. None are undetectable, which makes their real world absence at levels claimed so alarming given the allusions and rhetoric.
          Your analogies are shit, Chipper and Longtobefree.

          1. You can detect radio waves, you can measure plastic particulates, you can measure CO2.

            That would appear to suggest that their analogies are quite apt.

    2. As far as I know, the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch" is an area of water contaminated with an elevated level of plastic micro-particles. Despite the claims that plastic takes thousands of years to biodegrade, anybody that's ever owned PVC lawn furniture or a house with vinyl siding knows plastic starts degrading fairly quickly from UV exposure, and I'm pretty sure salt water isn't a preservative for plastic. The idea that there's a huge patch of the ocean that looks like a landfill exploded is pure nonsense. Every story you see about the patch is accompanied by a picture of a huge pile of garbage quite obviously not taken in the Pacific Ocean, and there's a reason nobody uses an actual photo of the massive garbage dump in the Pacific - there isn't one.

      1. Progtards need their fictional boogeymen.

  4. An estimated 20 percent came from the 2011 Japanese tsunami.

    That's it. We need a law.

    1. Nah, just a restraining order. Tsunamis must stay at least 500 yards away from Japan at all times.

      As a bonus this also prevents tsunamis from buying guns, so it ticks 2 progressive boxes!

  5. I'd like to make a symbolic move by banning all progTards from America.

  6. "A supporter says the move is "symbolic.""

    ...of their struggle against reality?

  7. Well, I mean, if you're going to be taking a shit on the sidewalk in San Francisco, might as well have greasy hair and smell of b.o. while you're at it. Go big or go home.

    1. No, they'll use the bigger pump dispensers attached to the wall and secured closed by the fact that it's not obvious how to open them... Pretty much all of the Marriot brand hotels I've been to in the greater LA area use them...

      So it's more like:
      Most of the hotel room is already soiled to some extent by someone elses cum; might as well make sure you'll eventually wash your hair with it too.

    2. Are you suggesting that there are a lot of people staying in hotels in SF who are shitting on the sidewalks? I assumed the sidewalk shitters were already generally pretty smelly and greasy.

  8. Most likely result:
    They start using 12oz bottles, add a $10.00 'government bottle fee' per night, and more plastic winds up inertly sitting in landfills miles from the ocean.
    Another win for socialists.

  9. So a problem which can be solved with better infrastructure, which in turn can be helped by economic growth, is going to be dealt with by a symbolic measure?

  10. They're going to eventually symbolically move us into mass graves, aren't they.

  11. Billy Binion? I love playing cards at your casino while I’m in Vegas.

  12. Party of symbolic science.

  13. So 2 ounce glass bottles.

  14. Just the other day told someone that, if they really thought about the implications of no plastics, these environmentalist wouldn't really want to live in a world without plastic.

    I think I was wrong, they really don't care what would happen. Let's ban single-use prescription bottles. We can bring our glass jars back to the pharmacy for refills. Why do we throw away empty IV bags? Let's rinse those things out and put another drug in them. Who needs sterility?

    1. Thinking about how all their good intention regulations interact with each other is too taxing for California Democrats.

    2. The "Progressives" don't want you to use any technology that allows you to produce anything more efficiently. They want everything to be made from natural substances that young girls harvest from trees or naturally occurring plants. They want us to give up fire, evil chemicals, the wheel, the ability to fly in airplanes, agriculture, all machines except the most basic ones, powered by human beings, and the ability to say anything that might lead to the development of these horrible infernal machines. They want to return to a feudal existence, with a wise philosopher queen, a large administrative staff of Smart People(TM) (mostly women), guilds (e.g., unions) who control the artisans who make nice stuff, wise and strong enforcers, and LOTS of happy peasants who sing as they gather the bounty that nature provides.

      Medical supplies will magically appear, once all the rich people are eliminated.

      1. I think you are conflating progressives generally with radical enviro-nuts. There are lots of progressives who are technological optimists. And they are more dangerous in many ways. They think that government can plan our technological future.

      2. "Medical supplies will magically appear, once all the rich people are eliminated."

        Worked for the Soviets when they killed the Kulaks. Oh, wait...

  15. "Assemblymember" ? That is a word?

    1. Anthony Wiener can attest to that.

  16. Pricing system should be able to deal with this. But as long as disposal costs are an external cost borne by those who don't make the decision as to WHAT is disposed, there can be no pricing solution.

  17. Notice how repeatedly ecological nationalsocialists keep injecting the collective noun "we"? If "I" were to threaten hotel owners with guns, SWAT would be there in a headshot. But "we" can send SWAT after the hotel keepers' shampoo stash by hinting it's a menace to all life on the planet and calling it "our" WWII.

  18. if you ban hotels from putting out small shampoo bottles, more travelers will bring their own small shampoo bottles. it accomplishes nothing.

    1. More net sales.
      Big Little Shampoo strikes!

  19. Always count on the Left to put the "total" in totalitarian. There's not a breath in your life they don't want to control.

  20. Welcome to California. The land of great virtue signaling and bad governance.

  21. […] That California’s bill will have little tangible impact is not lost on its supporters. “It’s mostly symbolic, but symbols can be powerful,” Geyer said… Read More > at Reason […]

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