According to the latest US EPA data, more than 269,000 tons of fast foodpackaging is generated in California annually, nearly 100% of which is littered or landfilled.
Today Senator Mark Leno (D - San Francisco) introduced SB 529, requiring fast food chains to use food packaging materials compatible with local recycling or composting systems by July 1, 2014. SB 529 is a producer responsibility measure that aims to reduce and recycle food packaging waste and litter.
By mandating that specific diversion rates be met in subsequent years, it will also develop the market for economically viable and sustainable food packaging materials.
Plastic pollution poses a significant problem to wildlife and California’s more than $40 billion ocean economy. It’s estimated that over 400,000 jobs in the state are based on coastal tourism and recreation, with combined wages of nearly $10 billion. The Convention on Biological Diversity reports 663 species have been affected by plastic marine pollution through entanglement or ingestion.
The EPA recently estimated that local governments spend an average of $13 per resident per year to manage marine litter. For a state as large as California, that's a cost of more than $411 million. Up to 90% of marine debris is plastic.
Learn more about fast food waste.