Hot Issues We're Working On
The California State Legislature became the first in the nation to approve a plastic bag ban in August of 2014, and on September 30, 2014, Governor Jerry Brown signed the bill into law.
Before the ink even dried, the plastic bag industry filed a referendum to repeal the law. Paid signature gatherers must collect nearly 505,000 valid signatures by the end of 2014 to qualify. This would suspend implementation of the state bag ban until the November 2016 ballot. Field reports indicate that these signature gatherers will use any means necessary to get signatures, from begging to outright lies.
Plastic bag manufacturers are desperate to stop the bag ban! According to the Secretary of State, the industry has already spent more than $3 million in this effort, with 98% of the money coming from out-of-state interests.
Now is the time to act. Plastic bags are costing your jurisdiction and other local and state agencies millions each year in cleanup costs alone. Despite their lightweight and compact characteristics, plastic bags disproportionately impact the solid waste and recycling stream and persist in the environment even after they have broken down.
In California, 13 billion plastic bags are distributed annually, and only 3% are recycled. Plastic bag ordinances currently cover 37 percent of the state’s population.
With the recent enactment of California's plastic bag ban, the state is poised to be plastic bag free in grocery, drug, and convenience stores by July 2015. This environmental victory paves the way for local and state governments across the nation to follow.
Check out resources for banning plastic bans on our Bag Ban Tool Kit.
Returning organic materials to soils drastically reduces the environmental impacts of landfills, reduces greenhouse gases, creates jobs, and helps sustain California's agricultural industry.
Despite California's robust recycling infrastructure for traditional recyclables, the state continues to landfill organic materials, such as yard trimmings and food scraps, at an alarming rate. In fact, food is the most prevalent item in our waste stream and a third of the material going to landfills is readily compostable
It doesn't have to be this way. With strong policy leadership and a shift away from laws that incentivize the landfilling of this valuable material, California can become a leader in the recycling of organics.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
More than 4 million used mattresses are generated in the state annually. Due to their large size and high costs for disposal, used mattresses are too often discarded on road sides, causing blight, health threats, and added cleanup costs. Local Governments in California are currently saddled with an estimated $20 million annual cost for used mattress collection and clean up.
SB 254 will implement a producer responsibility solution operated by a non-profit stewardship organization to create incentives for increased mattress recycling and renovation. These operations will be overseen by CalRecycle and a Mattress Recycling Advisory Committee.
While the latest CA Beverage Container Recycling Rates show continued high--82% overall—container recycling rates, the picture is less rosy for Plastic Beverage Containers.
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