California Legislation For Phasing Out Single-Use Plastics Rejected

Assembly Bill (AB) 1080 and Senate Bill (SB) 54 are two California bills that would’ve phased out single-use plastics, and would result in the strongest plastic pollutions rules in the US, which would greatly affect junk hauling Orange County and across the state. Until recently, they were going through California’s legislative process to see if they would pass. The two bills, created as a response to China’s National Sword policy, which stopped the exportation of recycled scrap out of the country, didn’t pass, but remain eligible for reconsideration for 2020.

Assembly Bill 1080, also known as the California Circular Economy and Plastic Pollution Reduction Act, and Senate Bill 54, were the latest efforts to try and regulate waste reduction in California, as well as cut down on virgin plastics production. The former was the brainchild of Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzales (D- San Diego), while the latter was penned by Sen. Ben Allen (D- Santa Monica).

AB 1080 aimed to eliminate the majority (75%) of single-use plastic packaging that’s distributed or sold in California by the time 2030 rolls around, while also requiring all single-use packaging and products to be readily recyclable or compostable by that same time, with plans to have CalRecycle offer incentives and policies to encourage using recycled material in manufacturing across the state.

The bills were opposed by the Grocery Manufacturers Association, waste management groups like Athens Services, as well as the California Refuse Recycling Council, with additional pushback from the agricultural and glass manufacturing sectors, accord to a report from the LA Times. Most of the pushback was due to the perceived broadness of the bill, which would make it rife with unintended consequences.

Director of State Government for the Plastics Industry Association Shannon Crawford stated that they’re opposed to the bill due to what they see as key flaws that would make it difficult, if not impossible to implement. They state that they do support increasing recycling and junk hauling Orange County and across the state, the bills didn’t address the absence of end markets or issues with infrastructure that plague the state’s waste disposal and recycling efforts.