Recycling Advocate: Mar. 1, 2012 Vol. 17 – Num. 1



Legislative Update:

The Legislature is back in full swing and there are over 20 waste and recycling bills that have been introduced or carried over from the previous year. These bills cover issues ranging from plastic pollution and composting to electronic waste and scrap tires. 

With the focus on the state budget deficit, new districts, several contentious initiatives, and the upcoming election in November, the state Legislature will certainly be distracted. Coming on the heel of last year's successful 'jobs and recycling' legislative agenda, CAW continues to be focused on polices that would create, expand and develop domestic recycling and remanufacturing infrastructure.

A few of the newly introduced bills: (To see the full list, please visit our website). While more than 20 new bills have been introduced, most are at the moment non-substantive ‘spot bills’. In some instances the authors have indicated their intent, for others they have not. Below are a few of the new bills and our understanding of their intent.

  • AB 1647 (Gordon)  –  increases the enforcement of existing tire hauling and manifesting laws to prevent the illegal export of waste tires.
  • AB 1933 (Gordon) - This bill is an enforcement bill to reduce fraud from recyclers attempting to import and redeem beverage containers in CA. This measure requires documentation of the source and destination of the material.

Bills from previous year:

  • AB 960 ( Lowenthal) – reduces the export of electronic waste overseas by requiring e-waste recyclers to conform their export practices as a condition of receiving existing recycling payments under California’s e-waste law. 
  • SB 568 ( Lowenthal) – prohibits food vendors from dispensing cooked food in polystyrene foam  containers.
  • AB 298 (Brownley) –  sets environmentally-protective standards for reusable bags

Plastic Bags update:
The momentum for plastic bag bans is gaining speed.  
In 2011, ten local bag bans were passed and adopted. And in the first two months of 2012 alone, 25 more local jurisdictions were added under a local bag ordinance. Twenty ordinances cover 41 cities and counties, 16% of our state’s population. We expect this to increase by at least another 10% by the end of this year.

Local Jurisdiction

Description of Bag Ordinance

San Jose

plastic ban, 10/25 cents for paper

Marin County

plastic ban, 5 cents for paper

Santa Monica

plastic ban, 10 cents for paper


plastic ban, 10 cents for paper

Santa Clara County

plastic ban, 15 cents for paper

Long Beach

plastic ban, 10 cents for paper

Santa Cruz County

plastic ban, 10/25 cents for paper


plastic ban, 10 cents for paper


plastic ban, 10/25 cents for paper


plastic ban, 10/25 cents for paper

Alameda Co and 14 incorporated cities

plastic ban, 10/25 cents for paper

San Francisco (expansion of 2007 ban)

plastic ban, 10 cents for paper


plastic ban, 10 cents for paper

Laguna Beach

plastic ban, 10 cents for paper

San Luis Obispo Co and 7 incorporated cities

plastic ban, 10 cents for paper

In a desperate attempt to stop this growing tide of bag bans, the Save the Plastic Bag Coalition (STPBC) continues to threaten litigation. Its latest tactic has been to sue local governments with bag bans covering restaurants, claiming absurdly that Retail Food Code preempts the bans. On February 29, 2012, STPBC filed a petition against the City and County of San Francisco for its recent expansion of an ordinance which includes restaurants. Stay tuned for more as CAW prepares to weigh in on this issue.

AB 341 (Chesbro) ImplementationNew Recycling Opportunities Where You Live and Work
Starting July 1st, apartment buildings must offer their tenants access to recycling, and businesses are required to subscribe to recycling service. For more information on whether or not you are covered by this new requirement, contact us at (916) 443-5422 or email





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