Two months after state lawmakers passed sweeping legislation designed to reduce plastic waste, they’ve passed more than a half-dozen new bills that will further reduce and clean up California’s waste stream. If Gov. Gavin Newsom signs the bills, a visit to the grocery, electronics or general retail store will fundamentally change for most residents. “If any one of these bills had passed, it’d have been huge,” said Nick Lapis, director of advocacy for Californians Against Waste. “But all of these together? It’s incredible.”
One high-profile bill will affect the plastic bags in the produce and bulk bin sections of grocery stores. Starting in 2025, such bags will have to be reusable, recyclable or compostable. It comes six years after California banned single-use checkout bags from grocery and retail stores.
Another bill focuses on thermoform plastics — containers that have been molded into shape by heat. Common thermoform plastic items include clamshell containers for food, plastic trays, cups and lids. These items will have to contain a certain percentage — 10% by 2025 and 30% by 2030 — of recycled plastic. If they can’t meet these targets, the company that used the plastic to package the item will have to pay an annual penalty based on their shortfall.