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“As dedicated progressive activists and proud Westsiders, Max Goldberg and Julia Posin are taking action to reduce the plastics pollution in our ecosystem.”

– Councilmember Mike Bonin

Read an excerpt of the “Neighborhoods First Newsletter” interview below from the office of Councilmember Mike Bonin of Los Angeles’ 11th District, covering Max and Julia’s work with Shuki )formerly Steel Straw) and more.

Q: Tell me about Shuki and your most recent clean up initiative?

A: We started Shuki after we were both extremely frustrated with the constant barrage of single use plastics we are confronted with on a daily basis. When going to a restaurant, many times plastic straws are automatically put in our drinks without us asking for one, only for it to be thrown away (without even being used) to eventually pollute our beloved ocean and communities. The collective waste we encounter simply by going about our every day lives is staggering. As our deep concern for the longer term impacts of this systemic plastic pollution epidemic continued, our conviction to do something about it grew stronger.

With Julia’s has a long trajectory of activism work in the environmental space, and Max’s work in digital advertising for over a decade, together there was an opportunity to get a reusable alternative to plastic straws into the hands of people who want to “be the change”. Even the plastic pollution issue goes beyond straws, we see this focus as a powerful first step in directly mitigating the issue, and bringing more awareness to people’s consumption habits. 

Most recently, we teamed up with Pacific Palisades Democratic Club and Heal The Bay to co-lead a clean up of Will Rogers State Beach. We helped recruit forty high schoolers from Palisades Charter High School to learn about our massive pollution problem, and make a difference in their own backyard. In just two hours, we removed and cataloged thousands of pieces of styrofoam, microplastics, plastic straws, cigarette butts, and more, and hopefully contributed to inspiring the kids towards a lifetime of public service and environmentalism.

Photo featuring Max Goldberg and Julia Posin

Q: How can neighbors get involved with Shuki initiatives?

A: The first and most important thing is telling waitstaff and bartenders to not give you a plastic straw if you don’t want one because it’s the simplest way to make a difference right now. A great next step is to use metal straws like the gift sets we sell on, which come in a reusable bag which you can keep in your car or purse — it’s a simple way to demonstrate to people that you understand that our oceans should be pristine, and not polluted with single use plastics. And perhaps most importantly, you should vocally support legislation to ban single use plastics like Councilmember Bonin has done by endorsing Assembly Bill 1884, which limits the use of plastic straws in some California restaurants, which Governor Jerry Brown finally signed into law this week!

You can also visit our partners page to learn more about organizations on the front lines of this issue. 

Q: What was it about plastics pollution that made you want to take action?

A: We believe plastics pollution is an environmental justice issue. We know that pollution in water supplies — from Standing Rock, to the BP Oil Spill, to New Orleans’ “Cancer Alley” — directly impacts low-income communities and communities of color the hardest. This is why we must shift away from the disposable economy powered by fossil fuels, and into the green economy. We must use the momentum we’re experiencing with single use plastic straws to create opportunities for everyone to succeed, while recognizing that there is no such thing as garbage — just resources out of place.

Read the full newsletter here: