California lawmaker introduces legislation to reduce plastic waste

California lawmaker introduces legislation to reduce plastic waste

Under the proposed bill, plastic bottles would be required to have tethered caps to ensure all material goes to recyclers.

February 17, 2018
Edited by Adam Redling
Legislation & Regulations Plastics

Assemblymember Mark Stone, a democrat representing the 29th California Assembly District, has reintroduced legislation to require plastic bottle caps to be tethered to their beverage containers. By banning bottles that don’t have attached caps, California will reduce one of the most prevalent sources of plastic litter in the state, he says.

“California has invested so much time and money in a process to make sure that plastic bottles get recycled instead of going into landfills or becoming litter. So why haven’t we changed the law to make sure that the bottle caps get recycled too? My bill finally accomplishes this goal,” Stone says.

“These plastic caps pollute beaches and neighborhoods, and taxpayers foot the bill for cleanup,” Assembly Majority Leader Ian Calderon, a co-author of the measure, says. “Attaching caps to plastic bottles is a common-sense solution for this longstanding problem.”

Assembly Bill 2779 requires all single-use plastic beverage containers, such as bottled waters and sodas, to have a tethered cap by a date to be determined. Tethered caps would stay attached to the bottles, helping ensure that all of the plastic waste goes to the recycler.

The movement to tether bottle caps echoes a similar movement in the 1970s fighting for a replacement of detachable can pop-tops with attached “stay-tops.” At the time, littered pop-tops created an unsightly pollution problem that was mitigated with the required change to stay-tops.

In 2017, Stone introduced similar legislation, Assembly Bill 319, which would have required all plastic beverage containers to have tethered bottle caps by the year 2020. That measure passed the Assembly Committee on Natural Resources but did not come up for a vote before the whole assembly. Opponents claimed that two years did not give beverage companies enough time to update their bottling machinery. Assembly Bill 2779 provides all stakeholders the opportunity to weigh in on the time frame for requiring tethered bottle caps.