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Measure to Reduce Single-Use Plastic Qualifies for 2022 Ballot

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Wednesday, July 21, 2021   

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- A groundbreaking measure to reduce plastic waste has just qualified for the 2022 ballot.

The proposal would give companies a big incentive to reduce plastic packaging by taxing each item by one penny. It would also make producers meet certain goals for recycling and reuse.

Jennifer Fearing, legislative advocate in Sacramento for the nonprofit Oceana, said the program would raise about a billion dollars a year.

"That would go to funding local governments, so they can upgrade waste and recycling systems, to support state and local governments in broader waste recycling and composting, and then the final 30% would go to environmental mitigation," Fearing outlined.

The American Chemistry Council opposes the measure, proposing instead a more lenient national plan to require all plastic packaging to be made of 30% recycled material by 2030.

The proposal would ban styrofoam food packaging, and would apply to all plastic packaging and foodware, including items sold in stores, restaurants or online.

A huge percentage of the items consumers try to recycle actually end up in landfills, and now many foreign countries are refusing to take our trash.

Fearing pointed out throwaway plastics are causing widespread environmental degradation.

"Plastics are just choking storm water drains, and water treatment and sewer systems," Fearing observed. "They're showing up as microplastics in the oceans and in fresh water."

A 2020 study in the journal Science predicted with current consumption patterns, the amount of plastic waste in our rivers, lakes and the ocean will more than triple by 2050.


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