AB 2138 (Chesbro, 2009-10) Plastic Ocean Pollution Reduction, Recycling and Composting Act
Requires food providers to use only recyclable or compostable takeoutfood packaging and bags.
Position and Status.
CAW Supports. AB 2138 was held in Assembly Appropriations committee. Previously, the bill passed Assembly Natural Resources Committee April 12 and was introduced February 18.
Single-use packaging is a primary source of urban litter and oceanic litter pollution, according to storm drain and beach cleanup studies. Polystyrene, plastic bags and other non-recyclable packaging have a high propensity to be littered because they are light and aerodynamic and are consumed away from home. Up to 80% of ocean pollution is litter from urban runoff, and non-recyclable single-use food packaging is a primary component of urban litter. Single-use food packaging litter kills wildlife such as birds and endangered sea turtles that become entangled or mistake it for food. More than 1 million sea birds, 100,000 marine mammals, and countless fish die from ingesting or becoming entangled in marine debris.
The volume of nonrecycled single-use food packaging distributed annually in California is staggering: the fast food sector alone generates 4 million tons of waste annually in California and retailers are currently distributing almost 14 billion plastic bags annually.
Nonrecycled single-use food packaging costs California families hundreds annually in hidden litter clean-up costs. Local governments are especially hard hit by these costs. The City of Los Angeles estimates that compliance with Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) for its impaired waterways, including those for litter pollution, will cost over $1 billion. Overall, plastic pollution severely threatens California’s $43 billion ocean economy. The volume of nonrecycled single-use food packaging distributed annually in California is staggering: the fast food sector alone generates 4 million tons of waste annually in California and retailers are currently distributing almost 14 billion plastic bags annually.
AB 2138 would prohibit food providers from distributing single-use food packaging and bags unless they are accepted for either recycling or composting in at least 75% of households in a jurisdiction and are recovered at rate of at least 25%. This policy will make the fast food sector financially responsible to:
- Switch to packaging that is compatible with the recycling and/or composting services available in the communities they serve.
- Work with local governments and recyclers to increase processing and market capacity for recyclable and compostable packaging alternatives.
- Work with consumers to ensure that their packaging is recycled or composted.
CAW Staff Contacts.
Mark Murray (916) 443-5422
Assembly Member Wesley Chesbro
State Capitol, Sacramento, CA 95814
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees,
Californians Against Waste
City and County of San Francisco
Planning and Conservation League
Sierra Club California
American Chemistry Council
Biodegradable Products Institute
California Chamber of Commerce
California Film Extruders and Converters Association
California Grocers Association
California Restaurant Association
California Retailers Association