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Single-Use Plastic Reduction Bills Clear Important First Hurdle, But Have Long Way to Go

Senator Allen and Assemblymember Gonzalez’s Identical Bills Face Fierce Industry Opposition

May 20, 2019
Sen. Ben Allen and Assembly Member Lorena Gonzalez are authoring ambitious identical bills, SB 54 and AB 1080 respectively, which seek to reduce the amount of plastic waste sold in California.
The League is supporting these bills, called the California Circular Economy and Plastic Pollution Reduction Act, as they will help local governments grappling with increased costs for solid waste disposal and the disappearance of recycling markets.
The League is encouraging cities to write letters of support for these bills as they now head to their respective houses for votes on the floor. The League will continue to update its members on this topic as it progresses through the legislative process.
Specifically, these bills would direct the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) to adopt regulations requiring manufacturers to source reduce and recycle 75% of single-use packaging and products sold or distributed in California by 2030. The bills also require all single-use plastic packaging distributed and used in California to be recyclable or compostable by 2030.
Cities around the state have seen their costs of disposing solid waste increase and once vibrant recycling markets dry up as international trade policies change. As a result, cities are paying more to recycle waste than to landfill it. This has led to cities no longer having buyers for their recyclable materials, instead having these materials piling up with nowhere to go. These bills seek to reduce the amount of plastic waste on the front end of the waste stream so local governments do not have to deal with these materials on the back end.
Next Steps
The League needs your help in ensuring the Legislature hears the voices of California cities. Please visit the League’s Action Center to download a sample letter or contact your Regional Public Affairs Manager should you have any questions.
These bills are both on the floor of their respective legislative houses for a general vote. A vote could happen on these bills as soon as Wednesday, so cities are encouraged to weigh in as soon as possible.

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