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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.
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, 14 billion plastic bags are distributed annually, and only 3% are recycled. Plastic bag ordinances currently cover 16 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.
Returning organic materials to soils drastically reduces the environmental impacts of landfills, reduces greenhouse gases, creates jobs, and helps sustain California's agrciultural 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.
Governor Jerry Brown has signed legislation establishing the most ambitious recycling goal in the nation for California, at the same time enacting incentives aimed at increasing recycled material processing and manufacturing in-state. Together, this strategy is aimed at creating more than 60,000 green jobs in the state over the next 8 years.
Assembly Bill 341 by Assembly Member Wesley Chesbro (D – North Coast) sets a 75 percent recycling goal for California by 2020—the most ambitious in the nation. Additionally, the measure requires every commercial business, institution and apartment building to implement recycling programs.
“Through innovation and thoughtful policy, California will continue to be a national leader in resource conservation and recycling. With the adoption of this legislation, we take the next step of turning our recycling success into economic value and green jobs,” said California Natural Resources Secretary John Laird.
California continues to lead the nation in electronic waste policy as the only state that has successfully curbed both the illegal disposal and export of the largest category toxic electronics, which includes TVs, computer monitors, and laptops through CA's SB 20. It's estimated that half will either be reused or recycled in California today. In addition, the California Department of Toxics Substances Control (DTSC) has recognized a wide array of consumer electronic products as hazardous, and, effective February 2006, they are prohibited from disposal in household trash, affecting thousands of consumer electronic devices.
Learn more about California's E-waste crisis . . .
E-waste, Hazardous and Universal Waste
Other Issues We're Working On
CAW Recycling News
Mark Murray's Blog