SB 567 (DeSaulnier, 2011-12) - Truthful Environmental Advertising in Plastics

SB 567 expands the scope of current plastic end-of-life claim labeling requirements from bags and food packaging to all plastic products.

Position and Status.

CAW Supports.

UPDATE: Governor Brown signed SB 567 on October 8, 2011.


Due to the exceptional harm caused by plastics litter, and the increase in littering associated with labeling a product as "biodegradable", end-of-life labeling of plastics warrants special attention.  "Biodegradable" is an inherently deceptive claim for plastic products as "biodegradable" denotes that a product will completely break down in a short time period.  Plastic products do not meet that threshold.  SB 567 restricts the labeling of plastics as "biodegradable", regardless of plastic type, and allows only verifiable claims that do not deceive consumers.  

Current law (PRC §42355-9; last amended in AB 1972 DeSaulnier 2008; originally adopted in SB 1749 Karnette 2004) applies to bags and food packaging and explicitly prohibits "biodegradable" and other inherently deceptive claims that are implicitly in violation of federal environmental advertising guidelines ("FTC Green Guides"). 

Current law ties testable and legitimate end-of-life claims to pass-or-fail tests called “ASTM standard specifications”, such as ASTM standard specification D6400 for “compostable”.  This prevents consumer deception and guards against common abuse of lesser standards, such as manipulating ASTM test methods (which are not pass/fail tests) to make deceptive claims.  “Biodegradable in a landfill” is also an inherently deceptive and unverifiable claim for which no ASTM standard specification exists because degradation in landfills is inhibited in most landfills by design in order to prevent the formation of the powerful greenhouse gas methane.

SB 567 expands the scope of current California law by prohibiting the labeling of plastic bags and food packaging as "biodegradable" from just bags and food packaging to all plastics products. 

This bill is similar to SB 1454 (DeSaulnier) Truthful Environmental Advertising in Plastics which was vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger last year.

CAW Staff Contacts.

Sue Vang (916) 443-5422



Senator Mark DeSaulnier
State Capitol, Sacramento, CA 95814

Current Language, Analyses and Votes.

Californians Against Waste
American Chemistry Council
Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers
The Biodegradable Plastics Institute
California Resource Recovery Association
City of Oakland
City and County of San Francisco
Concord Disposal Service
Ecology Center
Heritage Bag
Heritage Plastics
Metabolix, Inc.
Marin County Hazardous & Solid Waste Management Joint Powers Authority
Marin Sanitary Service
Marspring Corporation DBA Los Angeles Fiber
Napa Recycling & Waste Services
Oakley Disposal Service
Pittsburgh Disposal Service
Rio Vista Sanitation Service
Solid Waste Association of North America
dozens of individuals