California Passes The Toughest Plastic Waste Law In The United States

Sep 09, 2022by Olivia - F&F

Over in the United States, Californian lawmakers have passed one of the strongest bills to tackle single-use plastics and plastic pollution! This far-reaching law could eliminate more than 23 million tonnes of plastic waste over the next 10 years.

Plastic BottlesPlastic Bottles

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What Is The Plastic Pollution Producer Responsibility Act?

After four years of negotiations and roadblocks from powerful opposing forces, the ‘Plastic Pollution Producer Responsibility Act’ has finally passed into law! Just hours before a looming deadline, California’s Governor, Gavin Newsom, passed a bill to reduce single-use plastic packaging by 25% in the state of California — passing 66 to 1 in California’s State Assembly.

The law itself, Senate Bill 54, outlines a range of targets to be achieved until 2032. By 2028, at least 30% of plastic packaging in the state will be recyclable — with that number increasing to 40% by 2030, and 65% by 2032. To put things into perspective, the US current recycling rate is just 5%.

The bill also requires a 25% reduction in overall plastic waste by 2032. Polystyrene recycling will need to increase to 25% by 2025.

Golden Gate BridgeGolden Gate Bridge

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New Law Will Eliminate 23 Million Tonnes Of Plastic Waste!

Ultimately, by 2032, all single-use packaging and foodware in California must be recyclable or compostable! Californian non-profit, Ocean Conservancy, has supported the bill since its conception in 2018.

The non-profit’s analysis suggests that the bill will prevent nearly 23 million tonnes of plastic waste from being generated in California over the next 10 years. To put this figure into perspective, it’s roughly equivalent to more than 26 times the weight of the Golden Gate Bridge! 

This far-reaching bill also goes one step further to address the environmental justice issues associated with plastic production and disposal. Every year, Californian companies that produce plastic will need to contribute $500 million to a pollution mitigation fund every year over the next decade.

Plastic Pollution OceanPlastic Pollution Ocean

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New Law Places More Responsibility On Plastic-Producing Companies

California’s new Plastic Pollution Producer Responsibility Act is an enormous step in the right direction to slow down the production of plastics and eliminate plastic pollution. This tough law followed four years of negotiations, which gained momentum with massive public support.

Only three states in the U.S. have enacted similar laws to address extended producer responsibility, which forces plastic-producing companies to carry some of the economic burden associated with plastic pollution. Colorado, Maine and Oregon have passed similar legislation, but none of those states’ laws are as tough and far-reaching as California’s.

This was an example of the legislature doing its work and coming together, to addres a major global problem.

This is possibly the strongest anti-plastic pollution law in the United States! Over the next 10 years, it could prevent more than 23 million tonnes of plastic from being produced, consumed, and disposed of in California. Amazing, right? We hope that the success of this new law encourages other states to follow suit!

Interested in anti-waste laws in Australia and abroad? Check out our Eco News category for more updates.

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