Why Amy Smart Wants to Ban Plastic Bags

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Originally posted on MotherNatureNetwork.com by EMA Young Hollywood Board Chair, Amy Smart.

This summer, single-use plastic bags were banned in the city of Los Angeles, making it the largest city to pass the ban in the country. I was front and center for the historic city council vote alongside Dan Jacobson, legislative director of Environment California, and Environmental Media Association President Debbie Levin. We were ecstatic. The three of us have been fighting to see the end of plastic bags for a long, long time.

My commitment to the environment began in high school. I grew up in Topanga and went to Palisades High School, a school that is surrounded by the Santa Monica Mountains and has an amazing view of the Pacific Ocean. Being around so much natural beauty inspired me to volunteer with Heal the Bay.

I loved Heal the Bay’s mission to keep the ocean clean and healthy and began speaking at schools, talking about how young people could get involved and help preserve our beautiful California coastline.

Around that same time, my acting career began to take off. I was asked to do a PSA about ocean pollution for the Environmental Media Association. I played a mermaid in the video and got to wear the same tail that Daryl Hannah wore in “Splash.” We currently both serve as EMA Board Members together.

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Hawaii Becomes the First US State to Ban Plastic Bags

Hawaii recently became the first state to ban single-use plastic bags throughout the entire state. The new law will ban all non-recyclable paper and non-biodegradable plastic bags effective July 1, 2015. 2015 seems like a long time away, but it’s a step towards progress.

“This is really getting people to change their behaviors and that’s one of the most difficult things to do frequently and we hope people are going to understand that,” says Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle who signed the ban last week.

According to EcoWatch, the ban was not done by the state legislature, but instead by all four County Councils—a great example of local activists and decision makers addressing the serious issue of plastic pollution.

We applaud Hawaii for being the first state to ban plastic bags and hope that their actions will set the stage for other states to follow.