California lawmakers have approved what advocacy groups say are the nation’s strongest protections against falsely labeling items as recyclable when they in fact are destined for landfills. The measure sent to Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom for his consideration would reserve the “chasing arrows” recycling symbol for items that actually can be recycled.

The author of the bill named SB 343, Democratic Sen. Ben Allen, said in a statement that it will force truth in advertising and “will reduce contamination in the recycling stream and improve the sorting process, thereby saving cities and ratepayers money while empowering consumers to make more informed decisions.”

It’s among efforts in several states to ease confusion about recycling and increase recycling efforts. A Consumer Brands Association report recently asserted that the confusion has led to “a broken recycling system in America.”

A coalition of 14 opposition organizations countered that the bill would have “resounding impacts” on the state’s goal to divert 75% of trash from landfills and hinder the state’s efforts to recycle packaging. The bill would likely require state regulators to create a list of eligible items that “is extremely limiting,” potentially including just 15, the groups said — eight types of paper materials, two forms of glass, two types of metals, two types of plastics and one type of colored plastic.

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Author: Don Thompson, AP News
Image: Jeff Chiu, AP News