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Help keep single-use plastics out of San Diego Bay! 

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Single-use plastics are plastic items designed to be used once and discarded. Examples include Styrofoam, plastic utensils, plastic bags, and plastic bottles. The effect of single-use plastics is their contribution to bioaccumulation and landfill waste.   

To break it down mildly...   

  • Styrofoam cups take 50 years to break down.   
  • Plastic bags take 20 years to break down.   
  • Plastic bottles take 400 years to break down.  

The more single-use plastics are in use, the more we run the risk of improper plastic waste disposal and plastic pollution. Do your part and cut down on single-use plastic and help keep microplastics out of our beautiful San Diego Bay.  


Let’s Keep Plastics Out of San Diego Bay: Easy Solutions  

A few simple solutions to keeping plastic debris out of our bay include...  

  • Reduce your usage of single-use plastics.   
  • Have a reusable solution with you such as reusable lunch boxes and utensils, fabric bags or reusable water bottles.
  • Recycle your items appropriately! When your plastic bottle is ready to be discarded, make sure you’re diverting this waste from the landfill and dispose of it in the recycling bin. 


Microplastics & Bioaccumulation 

Microplastics are plastic debris that have broken off or degraded into small pieces (often less than five millimeters long) from larger plastic pieces.  

The effects of microplastics and larger plastic debris to the environment can be catastrophic to human health, aquatic and terrestrial wildlife, and our bay ecosystem.  Plastic items do not dissolve. As they are exposed to environmental elements, they break down into smaller pieces, eventually to a microplastic size of less than five millimeters long.     

The smaller the plastic gets, the easier it is to...   

  • Pass through water filtration systems.   
  • Make their way into the bodies of people and wildlife.   
  • Run off into our urban landscape. 

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Urban Runoff 

In our San Diego region, our water flows over any man-made surfaces, through our more populated areas, and drains into our 440 square miles of watershed.    

As the water makes its way into our watershed, it can pick up any trash or litter such as improperly disposed single-use plastics.     

Did You Know: Plastic debris is present in approximately 88% of San Diego Bay intertidal zones.

Effect on Our San Diego Bay Wildlife

The San Diego Bay watersheds encompass 440 square miles and is home to a variety of natural wildlife including turtles and birds.  

When plastic is improperly disposed and makes its way into our watershed, it becomes a danger and potential threat to our natural wildlife. 

The dangers of plastic to our wildlife include: 

  • Mistaken Identity: Plastic debris can often be mistaken for food. 
  • Physical Hazard: Wildlife can become entangled in larger pieces of plastic debris. 




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Reusable Swaps

Considering the impact of plastic pollution, an easy solution to cut down on disposable and single-use plastics is to switch up our usage. 

Try these reusable solutions:  

  • Food packaging and utensils made from sustainable materials such as glass or metal. 
  • Shopping bags made from fabric. 
  • Water bottles made from reusable materials such as stainless glass or stainless steel. 


Proper Waste Disposal Practices

With the wide variety of single-use items that we come across in our everyday lives, the thought of proper disposal can be daunting.  

Let’s break it down together with these easy steps and tips:   

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Looking for more ways to take care of your bay?  

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Composting is fun and easy! 

Learn the basics with the Port of San Diego. 

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ThatsMyBay graphic depicting various Household Hazardous Waste icons

Household Hazardous Waste

Learn about how you can help keep San Diego Bay free of household hazardous waste with the Port of San Diego!

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acartoon graphic of water, a pink car, a city skyline, and #ThatsMyBay logo

Vehicle Maintenance


Taking good care of your bay means taking care of your car! 



Rocker Storm Drayne Is ready for rain with his umbrella!

Are You Ready for Rain?

Prep Before it Rains!




Han on Hank - a green monkey - is on a blanket with a picnic basket

Go Zero Waste!

Adopt a zero-waste lifestyle and help keep our beautiful bay resources alive for years to come! 



a little green monkey poses with reused items

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle to help keep your community (and bay) in ship shape! 



a cartoon seahorse is sickened by bacteria from dog poop

Scoop the Poop

Scoop the Poop! Pick up after your pet so their waste doesn't get washed into the bay.



Rocker Storm Drayne Is ready for rain with his umbrella!

Storm Drayne

Everything seems so fresh and clean after it rains, but that is because all of the blown away napkins, dropped trash, leaked oil, and whatever else - get washed into storm drains, and into the bay. Prevention is key!



Trash Trooper Troy

Take Care of Your Trash

San Diego Bay doesn’t just belong to all of us - it belongs to each of us.



Hang on Hank

Traveling With Trash

Keep a Monkey Grip on Your Trash! Hang-on Hank says, "When traveling with trash, be sure it doesn't escape from your car or truck so there is no risk of it blowing into the bay."

The Drayniacs are Storm Drayne's biggest fans.

Drayniacs Know Your Drains

Everything seems so fresh and clean after it rains, but that is because all of the blown away napkins, dropped trash, leaked oil, and whatever else - get washed into storm drains, and into the bay. Prevention is key!



Meet Mike The Mime - He wants you to Mime Your Cigarette Butts

Mime Your Butts

MIke the Mime’s message is loud and clear - Mime Your Butts!


Trash Trooper Trish says "that's my bay!"

Keep A Lid On It

Meet Trash Trooper Trish and help us keep our bay clean by keeping a lid on it!





Bay Brotocol

Bay Brotocol

Two bay loving bros are shocked to see a neighbor over watering his lawn, allowing chemicals to seep into storm drains. They are happy to turn their unsuspecting overwatering neighbor into a brocean bro that knows how to take care of his bay.





He was thrown or blown from a moving vehicle earlier this afternoon near the Laguna Mountains at the top of the watershed and witnesses were unable to catch him. We're told that a storm then began, and Lil Wrapper was swept into a storm drain with other debris.

Lil Wrapper

From Lil Wrapper to littered wrapper. How does a promising snack star on the rise in east county, end up as a potential threat to innocent seahorses in #SanDiegoBay?



Pollution Pirate Pete is confused by these shiny trinkets and takes his “valuables” to get appraised only to find that his immortal plastic bounty is a bust.

Keep the Seas Plastic Free

Leaving just one small piece of trash may seem like no big deal - but those little bits add up, and they don't just stay put or go away on their own.



a person is holding a pump out hose and pointing at the viewer

Dump at the Pump

We want you to have fun on your boat - just make sure it all stays on your boat...vessel sewage is not allowed to be discharged into the bay!