Hearing Today on Landmark Bill to Reduce Plastic Packaging in CA
Wednesday, June 29, 2022
California lawmakers are considering a bill today to cut down on single-use plastics that are choking the nation's landfills and oceans.
Senate Bill 54 would require a 25% reduction in plastic packaging and single-use food-service ware over the next 10 years. It is the result of a compromise reached between environmental groups and the plastics industry.
Dr. Anja Brandon, U.S. plastics policy analyst for the Ocean Conservancy, said the scale of the solution needs to reflect the scale of the problem.
"I worked with other Ocean Conservancy scientists to estimate that this reduction would lead to 23 million tons less plastic in the state over the next 10 years," she said, "which is equivalent to nearly 26 times the weight of the Golden Gate Bridge."
Each year, more than 11 million metric tons of plastic is dumped into the ocean from land-based sources globally. The United States only recycles about 10% of its plastic.
The bill passed the Assembly Committee on Natural Resources Tuesday and goes before the Appropriations Committee today. It passed the state Senate in January. Some environmental groups oppose the bill, saying it doesn't go far enough.
Brandon said the bill would require manufacturers to contribute hundreds of millions of dollars to clean up the plastic in the environment.
"It would also require that all producers of all single-use plastic packaging be held responsible financially for managing the full lifecycle of their packaging," she said, "through what's called extended producer responsibility."
A similar proposal already has qualified for the November ballot - one that would move the timeline up to 2030 and ban polystyrene foam containers. The ballot measure is opposed by the American Chemistry Council and the California Business Roundtable.
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