The University of California is taking a stand against the throwaway culture that is choking our oceans and landfills with single-use plastics.

Under a new policy announced today (Aug. 24) all 10 campuses will phase out single-use plastic bags in retail and dining locations and then eliminate single-use plastic food service items and plastic bottles.

The move is part of a bold new commitment to help UC achieve its zero waste goals.

A plastic bag being X'd out

Given that the 10-campus UC system has such significant purchasing power across California, the new policy will accelerate efforts to eliminate single-use plastics, which have become a major environmental threat around the globe.

Less than 15 percent of single-use plastic gets recycled in California because the cost of recycling exceeds the value of the resulting material. Most plastic bottles and other single-use items wind up in landfills — or worse — make their way into our oceans and rivers, where they harm wildlife and enter the food chain.