AB 2398 (J. Perez) and SB 1100 (Corbett) passed the second house Environmental Committee and they are headed to Appropriations committee in the next few weeks. These producer responsibility bills, for carpet and household batteries respectively, would relieve financial burden on local governments as well as help the environment, save finite landfill space, and create green jobs.
Carpet consumes significant landfill space. California disposed of 1.28 million tons of carpet in 2008, representing 3.2% of the waste stream. In comparison, if the listed amount were to be recycled instead of landfilled, this would save over 9 million metric tons of CO2 from being released in the atmosphere.
Currently, local government agencies pay $800- $2,700 per ton each year to collect and manage household batteries because they are banned from disposal in the landfills. Despite the high cost to manage, only 2,00 tons of batteries were collected through local government hazardous waste programs, whereas over 19,000 tons were improperly dispose of in landfills, according to CalRecycle.
A producer responsibility program for these products would be more cost efficient as the industries are better equipped to manage their products more effectively and cheaper. For example, recycling batteries can be as low as $0.01-0.03/ unit in British Columbia. By shifting the burden from local governments to manufacturers, these measures create incentives for manufacturers to design safer products, that are more easily recycled and provide consumers with free and convenient recycling opportunities for household batteries.
These bills would also help create green jobs through the collection and recycling of these products.