California Senate passes plastic pollution reduction act

California Senate passes plastic pollution reduction act

The bill states that retailers must achieve 75 percent reduction in waste generated from single-use packaging by 2030.

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The California Senate has passed the California Circular Economy and Plastic Pollution Reduction Act (SB-54), which would establish the policy goal of the state that by 2030, manufacturers and retailers in the state achieve a 75 percent reduction of the waste generated from single-use packaging and products offered for sale or sold in the state through source reduction, recycling or composting. 

The bill would require the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) before Jan. 1, 2023, to adopt regulations that require manufacturers and retailers to source reduce, to the maximum extent feasible, single-use packaging and priority single-use plastic products and to ensure that all single-use packaging and priority single-use plastic products in the California market are recyclable or compostable. The bill would also require manufacturers and retailers to annually report specified information to the department. 

Additionally, the bill would require the department to develop criteria to determine which types of single-use packaging or priority single-use plastic products are reusable, recyclable or compostable. The bill would require local governments, solid waste facilities, recycling facilities and composting facilities to provide information requested by the department for purposes of developing that criteria, as well. By imposing additional duties on local governments, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

Also, the bill states that manufacturers of single-use plastic packaging or priority single-use plastic products would need to demonstrate a recycling rate of 20 percent on and after Jan. 1, 2024, not less than 40 percent on and after Jan. 1, 2028, and not less than 75 percent on and after Jan. 1, 2030.

The legislation, introduced by Sen. Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica), applies to all single-use packaging sold in California, as well as the top 10 single-use plastic items found during beach cleanups. Companion legislation (AB-1080), introduced by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), is anticipated for a floor vote in the California State Assembly on May 30.