An estimated 2.37 million tons of plastic material ended up in California landfills in 2017, according to the state agency CalRecycle. And the list of plastics in the dump is long and varied — cups and lids, trays for cookies or raw meat, bags for potato chips or bread, pouches for baby food or refillable soap, just to name a few.
Senate Bill 54 and its companion Assembly Bill 1080 would require that manufacturers and retailers slash the amount of waste generated by single-use packaging and products by 75% over the next decade — and to do it by making their products recyclable or compostable, or to simply not make them in the first place.
The bills target items that are typically used only once before being thrown away, like plastic forks, takeout food containers, or the packaging for everyday items like toothbrushes or toys. A lot of it can’t be recycled because of the type of plastic it’s made from or because it contains mixed materials.
State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, who co-authored AB 1080, tweeted Thursday, “Plastic #pollution is a global crisis and #CAMustLead the nation in fighting against it,” after her bill passed the Assembly Appropriations Committee. SB 54 passed the Appropriations Committee on the Senate side.
After achieving a 75% reduction in single-use plastic waste by 2030, the legislation would ramp up the goal even further: after 2030, all these types of products would need to be recyclable or compostable.