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Bills To Reduce Single-Use Plastics Move Through California Legislature

Randy Wick / Flickr

California lawmakers could take final votes in the next few weeks on whether to mandate a 75 percent reduction in single-use plastics by the year 2030.

Identical bills at the state Capitol — SB 54 and AB 1080 — would affect a wide range of products including water and soda bottles, and the packaging used to ship goods. The bill would require some of the most-used products to be produced with recyclable or compostable materials.

Sen. Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica) says industries and companies are already preparing to use alternate kinds of packaging.

“The equipment already exists. The packaging exists. The products exist. And all we need to do is to push industry to be more sustainable,” Allen says. “We just need a nudge.”

The American Beverage Association, which represents the soda industry, says its companies agree with the “general premise” of the bills, but argues the measures set goals “that cannot be met realistically.” It also notes the governor’s Department of Finance opposes the legislation due to cost concerns.

Bernice Jimenez Creager with the American Chemistry Council says the plastics industry is willing to work with the authors and the state’s regulatory agency, CalRecycle.

“There are a lot of challenges that the current versions of the bill present,” she says. “The plastics industry is very supportive of the bills. However, we’re asking for a fix on them.”

Supporters and opponents are negotiating amendments that could pave the way for final passage. That includes a potential industry fee that would raise nearly $100 million a year to improve the state’s recycling infrastructure.

Copyright 2019 Capital Public Radio