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In an opinion piece set for publication in the San Jose Mercury News, State Senator Kevin De Leon announces his commitment to a statewide policy for phasing out single-use plastic grocery bags.
“Next year, I'm committed to bag single-use plastic grocery bags, but we won't do it by throwing hundreds of California workers and their families under the bus. We'll do it in a smarter way that reduces waste and protects the environment, but helps protect workers at the same time.”In 2011, then Assembly Member De Leon supported legislation to phase out plastic bags. However, earlier this year, Senator De Leon withheld his support for SB 405 (Padilla), arguing that the measure failed to protect jobs at the state’s two remaining plastic bag manufacturing facilities (one of which is located in Senator De Leon’s Los Angeles County District).
In May, SB 405 fell 3 votes short of passage in the State Senate. Over the last several months, Californians Against Waste has been working with Senator De Leon and other members of the State Senate (including a Republican!) on a proposal aimed at phasing out single-use plastic grocery bags, while also increasing markets and California jobs in recycled plastic manufacturing.
According to the Vallejo Times Herald, Martinez may soon join the numerous other Bay Area communities that have banned single-use plastic bags and polystyrene foam food takeout containers.
Mayor Rob Schroder said the slew of plastic bags swirling on the shoulder of Interstate 680 and caught in the barbed wire fencing along the BART tracks along Highway 4 in eastern Contra Costa County convinced him that a ban is needed.
The council will also discuss a potential ban on polystyrene foam take out food containers.
If the council decides to move forward, the ordinances would be drafted and brought back in early 2014.
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.
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 31 percent of the state’s population.
Local governments, who are primarily responsible for the cleanup of plastic litter in clogged stormwater systems and polluted waterways, should move ahead with local bag ordinances immediately. Not sure where to start? Check out our Bag Ban Tool Kit.
With the recent Supreme Court decision that the City of Manhattan Beach does not need an environmental impact report (EIR) to enact its plastic bag ordinance, the door has been opened for other local jurisdictions to move forward with their own bans.
Update: Assembly Member Gordon introduces legislation to add all beverage container types to Bottle Bill Program.
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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