There have been several bills passed and introduced in California and New Jersey governments this month that are focused on waste reduction, especially concerning plastics.
California governor Jerry Brown signed three bills on September 20, 2018, all aimed at reducing plastic pollution.
AB 1884 Food facilities: single-use plastic straws – full-service restaurants “shall not provide a single-use plastic straw to a consumer unless requested by the consumer.”
SB 1335 Solid waste: food service packaging: state agencies, facilities, and property – food service providers may only use recyclable or compostable food packaging in parks, fairgrounds, state beaches and state buildings as of January 1, 2021.
SB 1263 Ocean Protection Council: Statewide Microplastics Strategy – the California Ocean Waste Protection Council is directed to develop a Statewide Microplastics Strategy in order to protect and conserve ocean ecosystems. The Council will deliver a Strategy to the Legislature by December 31, 2021, and will report to the Legislature with an implementation plan, policy changes or additional research by the end of 2025.
These measures will help California meet its goal of diverting 75% of waste from landfills by 2020. Advocacy groups, such as Californians Against Waste, are calling the passage of these bills the “boldest statement to date on the public health and environmental threat posed by plastic pollution and waste.”
On September 17, 2018, three concurrent resolutions were introduced in the New Jersey Senate urging the federal and state governments to take greater action against waste and plastic pollution.
SCR 135 – “urges cooperative approach among all levels of government to provide funding and other resources to clean up plastic pollution,” especially when it comes to ocean plastics.
SCR 136 – “urges federal government to take action to require manufacturers of single-use plastic products to assume responsibility for pollution caused by those products.” It calls upon Congress, the President and the Attorney General to enact federal laws which would require manufacturers to fund “clean-up costs, water filtration expenses, and damages to natural resources” that are a result of single-use plastic litter – which could be done through a national extended producer responsibility (EPR) scheme.
SCR 137 – “urges DEP and EDA to establish plastics recycling marketplace.” The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is urged to utilize resources from the State Recycling Fund to conduct research for developing a plastics recycling marketplace in New Jersey, especially for single-use plastics. The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) is called upon to encourage and provide funding for establishing the marketplace.
All New Jersey bills have been referred to the Senate Environment and Energy Committee.