APR urges California governor to sign bottle recycling bill
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APR urges California governor to sign bottle recycling bill

The association reports Assembly Bill 792 could help to improve and strengthen recycled PET markets in California.

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October 11, 2019

The Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR), Washington, has reached out to California Gov. Gavin Newsom to sign Assembly Bill (A.B.) 792, “Recycling: Plastic Containers: Minimum Recycled Content and Labeling.” The association represents more than 90 percent of the postconsumer plastics recycling capacity in North America.

A.B. 792 was first introduced in the state in February 2019. This bill states that, on and after Jan. 1, 2021, “would require the total number of plastic beverage containers filled with a beverage by a beverage manufacturer, as specified, to contain, on average, specified amounts of postconsumer recycled plastic content per year pursuant to a tiered plan that would require the total number of plastic beverage containers to contain, on average, no less than 50 percent postconsumer recycled plastic content per year on and after Jan. 1, 2030, except as specified.” It would also impose civil penalties, in specified amounts, on a beverage manufacturer for a violation of these requirements. It would also authorize California’s Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) to enforce these provisions and would authorize the department to conduct audits and investigations of a beverage manufacturer for the purpose of ensuring compliance. 

In addition, A.B. 792 would exempt from the California Public Records Act information resulting from those audits and investigations. The bill would require penalties collected to be deposited in the Recycling Enhancement Penalty Account, which the bill would create. It also would require moneys in the Recycling Enhancement Penalty Account to be expended upon appropriation for the sole purpose of supporting the recycling, infrastructure, collection and processing of plastic beverage containers in California. The bill would require the department to contract with a research university for a specified study and would authorize the department to allocate moneys from the California Beverage Container Recycling Fund, upon appropriation, for the study, which would need to be completed by May 1, 2025.

In a letter submitted to Gov. Newsom Oct. 11, APR President and CEO Steve Alexander writes, “APR supports recycled content in all PET (polyethylene terephthalate) applications, including PET CRV (California Redemption Value) containers. Recent amendments reflect the critical necessity to base any content requirement levels on pertinent potential supply data. We believe A.B. 792 has set realistic goals, and that it will improve and strengthen recycled PET markets in California. Signing A.B. 792 is a critical first step to dealing with plastics in the state, and we view this measure as complimentary to the broader goals that will be addressed in SB 54 related to single-use packaging. APR looks forward to working with the Legislature and the administration to improve the state’s collection infrastructure. Further, APR will be advocating for investment in recycling infrastructure, which will ensure the long-term goals of the state can be met.”

In addition, APR’s advocacy team in California has worked to educate members of the California legislature throughout the legislative process to ensure that members have the facts necessary so that the bill contains realistic recycling goals, APR says. APR says it believes that A.B. 792 as passed by the legislature achieves these goals, so the association hopes the governor will sign the bill into law.