Major Accomplishments

Californians Against Waste has sponsored or helped craft almost all of California's major nation-leading recycling policies. Here is a sampling of recent successes:


  • SB 1335 (Allen), which seeks to have California lead the way in sustainable packaging by requiring all state properties to provide only recyclable and compostable food packaging materials.

  • AB 1884 (Calderon), which aims to reduce the overwhelming amount of single-use plastic Californian's consume on a daily basis by requiring sit-down restaurants in California to forgo the automatic distribution of straws in every drink, and instead only provide a straw when it is requested by the customer.

  • SB 1422 (Portantino), which requires annual testing for the presence of microplastics in drinking water and the public disclosure of test results.

  • SB 1263 (Portantino), which requires the Ocean Protection Council to adopt and implement a statewide microplastics strategy.

  • SB 212 (Jackson), which establishes producer-funded take-back programs to provide safe and convenient disposal options for home-generated pharmaceutical drugs and sharps waste. The pharmaceutical drug take-back creates a statewide system of kiosks for safe disposal of unwanted drugs in the home.

  • SB 458 (Wiener), which authorizes the creation of five pilot project bottle recycling centers across the state. Until 2022, these centers will bring beverage container recycling services to areas that currently have little to no ability to redeem their deposits paid on beverage containers.

  • AB 954 (Chiu), which is an important next step from 2015/16’s CAW sponsored bill which addressed confusing food date labels. Confusing, misleading, and cryptic food labels lead many consumers and stores to throw out perfectly healthy food every day. Date labels on food come in a dizzying variety of forms including “use by,” “best before,” “sell by,” and “enjoy by” dates, yet these simple markers are both poorly understood and surprisingly under-regulated, such that their meanings and time frames are generally not defined.

  • AB 1158 (Chu), increases carpet recycling by 50% in two years by requiring a carpet stewardship plan to achieve a 24% recycling rate for postconsumer carpet by January 1, 2020; the bill would authorize CalRecycle to set future recycling benchmarks.

  • AB 1219 (Engman), which will strengthen the laws which protect food donors in order to maximize food donations.

  • AB 1294 (Berman), which extends a requirement for manufacturers or suppliers of plastic products making claims related to the recycled content of a plastic product to maintain information and documentation to support that claim.

Upholding SB270, California's plastic bag ban; the first statewide ban in the nation!

Proposition 67, the referendum on the state law (Senate Bill 270) passed by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in September 2014, is passing 53 to 47%. The law had been challenged by the out-of-state plastic bag industry, which spent more than $6 million to repeal it. 

The Yes vote on Prop 67 was backed by a diverse coalition of more than 500 organizations, ranging from environmental groups to business organizations and dozens of cities and counties.  The Yes campaign also received the support of more than 40 newspapers. 

More than 150 California communities already have local plastic bags in place. The passage of Prop 67 extends the ban to the remainder of the state.

“California voters have taken a stand against a deceptive, multi-million dollar campaign by out-of-state plastic bag makers,” said Mark Murray of Californians Against Waste, co-chair of the campaign. “This is a significant environmental victory that will mean an immediate elimination of the 25 million plastic bags that are polluted in California every day, threatening wildlife.” 


  • SB 1383, which requires a 75 percent reduction in state-wide disposal of organic waste by 2025, into law September 19th, 2016. This bill requires the State Air Resources Board to adopt a strategy to reduce emissions of Short Lived Climate Pollutants, also known as Super Pollutants, in order to achieve a reduction in methane by 40%, hydrofluorocarbon gases by 40%, and anthropogenic black carbon by 50% below 2013 levels by 2030.

  • AB 1419, which creates a recycling framework for Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) panel glass, into law September 22nd, 2016. New LCD and LED technology has dramatically reduced the demand for CRT devices, and previous CA law limited options for recycling this material.

  • AB 2530, which requires manufacturers to report the amount of virgin and post-consumer plastic purchased the previous year, into law September 30th, 2016.

  • AB 888 (Bloom) into law in 2015, which bans the sale of plastic microbeads found in personal care products by 2020. This led to a federal ban on microbeads to be signed by President Obama only 2 months later, the federal ban goes into full effect in 2018.

  • AB 199 (Eggman) created a sales-and-use tax exemption on purchases of equipment used for recycling and composting, as well as equipment that processes recycled materials.

Implementing Recent Legislation

  • CalRecycle unveiled an ambitious blueprint for California to achieve 75 percent recycling by 2020, a goal established under CAW-sponsored AB 341 (Chesbro). This plan incorporates a number of long-time CAW priorities, including:

Expand the Bottle Bill to cover all ready-to-drink beverages.Phase out the disposal of organics materials, and get rid of state laws that inadvertantly provide incentives for landfilling this material.Develop in-state recycling infrastructure, including increased recycled-content manufacturing.Expand the applicability of the state's new commercial recycling program.Increase producer responsibility for reducing and recycling problem products and hazardous waste.

  • Green jobs and in-state manufacturing: In February, Governor Jerry Brown joined CAW in Riverside, CA at the opening of CarbonLite, the nation’s largest, most state-of-the art ‘closed loop’ facility for processing used plastic bottles back into the raw material to make new bottles and products. This facility with hundreds of green jobs was made possible by AB 1149 (Gordon and Wieckowski) which helps to develop domestic markets for recycled plastics by providing $20 million in market-based incentives to in-state processors and manufacturers of recycled plastic.

  • CalRecycle has published rules to implement CAW's landmark commercial recycling legislation. Beginning July of this year, landlords and businesses have had to to subscribe to recycling service.


  • SB 270 (Padilla, de Leon, Lara) is the country's first statewide plastic bag ban approved by a state legislature. Passed in August 2014, the bill phases out single-use plastic bags in grocery, drug, and convenience stores starting in July 2015.

  • AB 1594 (Williams) will eliminate a loophole in state law that allowed yard trimmings to be counted as diversion when used to cover landfills.

  • AB 1826 (Chesbro) requires large generators of commercial food waste to subscribe to organics collection services. Currently, food is the most prevalent item in our waste stream and a third of our landfilled waste is compostable.

  • SB 254 (Hancock-Correa) is the west coast's first mattress recycling bill and serves the dual purpose of increasing recycling and reducing illegal dumping of mattresses by requiring mattress manufacturers to establish and implement market based collection and recycling programs for used mattress.

  • AB 513 (Frazier) dedicates an extra $5 million to local government paving projects that use pavement made from recycled tires in place of virgin asphalt.


  • AB 341 (Chesbro) is landmark recycling legislation in 2011 that 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 by July 2012.

  • SB 567 (DeSaulnier) expands truthful end-of-life labeling requirements for plastic bags and food containers to all plastic products.

  • AB 1149 (Gordon and Wieckowski) helps to develop domestic markets for recycled plastics by providing market-based incentives to processors and manufacturers of recycled plastic.

  • AB 525 (Gordon) extends CalRecycle's successful Rubberized Asphalt Concrete tire recycling program to support viable markets for recycled tires.

  • AB 1933 (Gordon) helps reduce fraud from unscrupulous individuals attempting to import and redeem beverage containers in CA. This measure lowers the amount of beverage containers a person can bring into the state before reporting to CalRecycle, and also requires documentation of the source and destination of the material.

  • AB 1647 (Gordon) increases the enforcement of the state's tire hauling and manifesting laws to prevent the illegal export of waste tires and creates a new incentive program to support California tire recyclers.

  • The California Supreme Court ruled in favor of an appeal by CAW and the City of Manhattan Beach affirming the right of local governments to phase out single-use plastic grocery bags.

  • CAW initiated several successful enforcement campaigns to identify and expose false and misleading environmental marketing claims. CAW assisted the CA Attorney General’s office in bringing a public legal challenge against product makers for using false and misleading claims regarding bioplastics.

  • CAW is countering the plastic industry’s misleading campaign to tout the benefits of plastic bags in children’s textbooks and scare consumers away from reusable bags.

  • CAW helped passed 27 local bag ordinances in the last 2 years and we are currently working with dozens of other cities and counties to introduce and enact local plastic bag bans.

  • CAW successfully kept incinerators from being exempted from California's greenhouse gas regulations.

  • With strong support from CAW, California implemented the strongest landfill regulations in the country to reduce greenhouse gases and other pollution from landfills.

Other Accomplishments

  • The Carpet Stewardship Act of 2010, AB 2398 by Assembly Member John Perez, establishes the nation's first comprehensive and industry-financed carpet recycling program.

  • CAW-sponsored AB 1343 (Huffman), the Paint Stewardship Act of 2010, will require manufacturers to operate and finance a recycling program for used paint.

  • CAW helped pass groundbreaking legislation in 2007 with AB 1109 (Huffman), which will increase energy efficiency and reduce hazardous materials in today's lighting.

  • In 2006, AB 2449 (Levine) was passed, requiring, for the first time, all CA grocery stores to take-back and recycle plastic grocery bags as well as provide consumers with a bag reuse opportunity.

  • AB 1125 (Pavley) established the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Act in 2005 that requires retailers to take-back and recycle rechargeable batteries.

  • AB 2901 (Pavley), the Cell Phone Recycling Act of 2004, requires a retailer selling a cell phone in the state take back used cell phones for reuse, recycling, or proper disposal.

  • SB 20 (Sher) passed in 2004, enacted the Electronic Waste Recycling Act, and the nation's first, and still most expansive, e-waste recycling law.

  • Establishing the nation's first Recycled Newsprint Act, AB 1305, in 1989, which requires all newsprint publishers to use increasing levels of recycled content newsprint.

  • AB 939, California's Integrated Waste Management Act of 1989, which requires cities and counties to reduce the amount of waste going to landfills by 25% in 1995 and 50% by the year 2000.

  • AB 2020, California's Bottle Bill of 1986, provides consumers with a nickel refund value on virtually all beverage containers recycled.

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