AB 1594 (Bloom) Ocean Plastic Pollution- Takeout Food Packaging

Summary: AB 1594 directs the Ocean Protection Council to study the sources and types of ocean plastic pollution and to come up with recommendations for strategies to reduce ocean plastic pollution. 

Position & Status: CAW is supporting this bill.

  • Introduced February 17th, 2017
  • Passed Assembly Natural Resources committee April 24th, 2017
  • Passed Assembly Appropriations committee May 24th, 2017
  • Passed Assembly Floor vote May 30th, 2017
  • Next Step: Referred to Senate Environmental Quality committee. No hearing date set.

Description: 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.  Takeout food packaging comprises a disproportionately large portion of non-recyclable waste and is the second greatest component of litter (behind tobacco products), comprising 20-30% of all litter. Single-use food packaging litter kills wildlife such as birds and endangered sea turtles that become entangled or mistake it for food. 

Polystyrene and other non-recyclable packaging have a high propensity to be littered because they are light and aerodynamic and are consumed away from home.  Recycling opportunities polystyrene and most other plastic take-out food packaging are limited, and no widespread recycling scheme for polystyrene has ever been successfully implemented. Without state action to address the problem of ocean plastic pollution as a result of takeout food packaging litter and waste, local agencies have been left to enact a patch work of local restrictions: Santa Monica has banned non-recyclable packaging; San Francisco and others have banned polystyrene packaging; Oakland has enacted a ‘litter tax’ on the fast food sector. Almost 100 total jurisdictions have banned expanded polystyrene food takeout packaging from food vendor distribution. AB 1594 is an important step in the reduction of non-recyclable litter and waste entering our marine environment.

Contact: Nick Lapis, (916) 443-5422

Contact Assemblymember Richard Bloom

Current Analysis, Language, and Votes