For good or bad, what happens in California doesn’t stay in California. From hot rods and skateboards back in the day to avocado toast, what started out as fringy left-coast phenomena inevitably went on to sweep the nation (and often the world). That’s worth remembering as a bill that sets strict requirements on single-use packaging and other plastic products moves through the state legislature.
Right now, if you’re based in California, “your business could be at risk,” warns the Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS; Washington, DC). It is urging members of industry and fellow travelers in the state to contact committee members and voice their opposition. “Without your voice, California will severely impact our industry despite our work to develop products that are environmentally friendly throughout their entire lifecycle,” said PLASTICS in a press release. And you might be nipping a bad idea in the bud before it spreads.
In its present form, writes PLASTICS, AB1080 “leaves far too much authority to craft regulatory requirements in the hands of CalRecycle, adopts target rates and timelines that are unfeasible given the lack of recycling infrastructure in the state, and defeats the purpose of encouraging the manufacturing of recyclable products that benefit the environment.”
PLASTICS believes the bill to be problematic for a number of specific reasons. By Jan. 1, 2024, the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle), part of the state’s Environmental Protection Agency, must adopt regulations that:
- Require all single-use packaging and priority single-use plastic products that are sold to be recyclable or compostable as defined;
- define what constitutes recyclable or compostable;
- determine what "priority single-use plastic products" are with broad criteria;
- examine Extended Producer Responsibility as a possible policy option to help achieve the 75% waste reduction goal; and
- allow CalRecycle to impose higher recycling rate requirements than legislated.
Moreover, the bill would require covered entities that are eligible to sell in the state to demonstrate recycling rates of 20% by 2024, 40% by 2028 and 75% by 2030, and it would prevent noncompliant packaging and products from shifting to recyclable plastic to meet eligibility requirements.
Do your part, Californians, and click here to sign a letter to your state officials. Our worried nation turns its eyes to you!