GreenTown Los Altos

The Story of Plastic – A Story of Injustice


Jul 2020


Photo credit: Daniel Müller, Greenpeace

The GreenTown Los Altos Waste Team recently held a screening of the newly released film The Story of Plastic  and hosted a Zoom discussion on what we can do locally and beyond to reduce plastic use and waste.  Joining the panel for discussion were:

  • Louie Pellegrini, President, Mission Trail Waste System
  • Emiko Ancheta, Sustainability Coordinator, City of Los Altos
  • Joanne Brasch, Project Manager, California Product Stewardship Council
  • Nick Lapis, Directorof Advocacy, Californians Against Waste

The documentary is an amazing account of how we arrived at the plastic crisis we face today.  Yes, we have a dire situation of plastic litter and ocean pollution, but it’s much more than that.  Missed the film? Learn how you can watch it, or host a screening HERE.

The film explains how plastic pollution is truly an environmental injustice impacting all of us—some more than others.  Fossil fuel extraction and plastic production result in environmental degradation and damaging health effects to those living nearby, typically communities of color and low socioeconomic means. Moreover, we are now flooded with plastic waste that is not biodegradable—it only breaks down into smaller and smaller particles over centuries to end up in our water, air and food.  

Add to these social and environmental injustices an economic injustice: those producing, selling and profiting from inexpensive plastic packaging (think single-use plastic) don’t have to pay for addressing these injustices. WE, the taxpayers, and our local governments must pay for environmental clean-ups, household trash collection and hauling to expensive sorting facilities–and it turns out most plastic is NOT recyclable.

Everyone’s health suffers when our environments are polluted in ways that lead to unhealthy oceans, contaminated drinking water and food tainted with plastic chemicals.

Fortunately, California has a plan to tackle this challenging crisis, and YOU can help!

  • Efforts are underway to include on our November ballot a measure to reduce plastic waste.  Thank you to all who signed the petition to add this!!!  If successful, the Plastics Free California Initiative will be voted on this fall.  More info HERE.  We’ll know soon, so stay tuned!
  • The California State Legislature is working on The California Circular Economy and Plastic Pollution Reduction Act (AB1080 and SB 54). Though inactive now due to COVID-19, it is anticipated that work to pass this legislation will resume as soon as possible. Be ready to advocate! Watch a short video about the effort HERE and check out this factsheet from the California Product Stewardship Council HERE. 

Did you see that GTLA is promoting Plastic Free July?  Have fun this month practicing how to live a more plastic free life. Be part of the solution!  See our post in the July Newsletter. It’s easy to sign up HERE.

Volunteer! We’d love you to join GreenTown’s Waste Reduction Team! Just email us at

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