There are two bills in the California Senate this month that focus on preventing, reducing and managing plastic and beverage container waste.
SB-1335 “Solid waste: food service packaging: state agencies, facilities, and property” on August 24 was ordered to a third reading for a final vote on August 31, 2018.
SB-168 “Recycling: beverage containers” on August 29 was ordered to a third reading for a final vote on August 31, 2018.
**UPDATE: On August 31, 2018, SB-1335 passed and SB-168 failed.
SB-1335 mandates that at parks, fairgrounds, state beaches and state buildings, foodservice providers must use only recyclable or compostable food packaging.
This new law would take effect on January 1, 2021, if passed. Its main purpose is to reduce and prevent plastic pollution that ends up in landfills and waterways, which is especially pertinent to California’s 840 miles of coastline.
A 2015 study from the University of California, Davis found that about one quarter of fish sold in California markets contain plastic. SB-1335 intends to address these kinds of issues, and will also help California meet its goal of diverting 75% of waste from landfills by 2020. Supporters of the bill believe that, if passed, this legislation could lead to a larger conversation on the sustainability of takeout food and product packaging altogether.
SB-168 would require The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) to establish higher minimum content standards for beverage containers beginning in 2021. If passed, CalRecycle must establish standards for beverage containers made of metal, glass, plastic and other materials by January 2023.
This is another issue especially relevant to California, as the state purchases more than 24 billion beverage containers annually. Minimum content standards would also help the state reduce energy consumption and air pollution. If passed, the law would lead to a boost in California’s economy, with expanded markets for recycled materials (which is particularly important now with China’s National Sword policies) as well as the creation of new jobs to improve state infrastructure.
SB-168 also requires CalRecycle to study how an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) system may be implemented to modify California’s current Bottle Bill program. The Department would be required to provide a report by January 2020.