California lawmakers are close to deciding on three far-reaching pieces of plastics legislation, including one that would phase out non-recyclable single-use packaging containers by 2030. All 3 bills have passed at least one of the two legislative chambers and await votes before September 13th. If passed, they will proceed to the governor’s desk where he must act on them by October 13th.
What are these bills? You may be asking. The main goal of these bills is to do away with single-use containers. They also seek to include more recycled material in beverage containers and phase out non-recyclable single-use packaging. The bill would require containers be made of materials that can be recycled or composted.
As we know, CA has been a leader in banning the use of single-use plastic bags and (parts of the state) banning plastic straws.Now, with China’s decision to stop accepting certain containers American consumers have tossed in recycling bins for years, landfills are backing up with waste and traditionally recycled products/containers.
Unfortunately, with these market conditions unlikely to change, it is upon us to do something to limit this waste. After lengthy negotiations, lawmakers agreed on flexibility with food containers to jump-start the recycling infrastructure.
One sticking point is the proposition to give CalRecycle authority over companies. While there is no regulatory framework in place, such restrictive control may not be the answer and this has become a point of contention. Of course, there are those tat oppose the bills arguing that the bills will unintentionally impact the availability, affordability, and quality of many products.
Within California, statewide recycling levels haven’t topped 44 percent and the state hasn’t implemented requirements for businesses to contribute to the reduction. Plastics companies are also seeking to reduce some of the proposed targets for recycled content
Already, negotiations on AB 792 whittled its original 100 percent recycled content target down to 75 percent as a result of complaints from plastic manufacturers. Current amendments to AB 792, extend the timeline for compliance as far out as 2035 and create categories of beverage containers that are exempt.
“We’re already in a situation where if we stopped all the plastic production today, we have decades and decades of cleanup,” said Stanford Professor Geoff Shester, Calif. campaign director and senior scientist at Oceana.
California State Senator Allen is optimistic the bills will pass, because of the toll the waste crisis is taking on local governments and taxpayers. The League of California Cities has backed both bills. Derek Dolfie, the group’s legislative representative, said cities that once generated income from recycling are now paying high prices to dispose of waste.