The 2017-2018 session of the California legislature presents an opportunity for our state to lead the way on several issues related to recycling, food waste and other areas critical to a healthy environment. (Click Here for Past Legislation)
SB 168 (Wieckowski) Minimum Recycled Content - Next Step: Referral to Assembly Policy Committee. SB 168 requires Calrecycle to establish minimum recycled content standards for beverage containers. While Californians are proud of their recycling efforts, most are unaware that while our collection for recycling rates are high, much of the materials are in fact exported overseas for recycling. Half of PET beverage containers collected for recycling are still exported out of state, and out of the country to China, Vietnam and elsewhere. This bill will increase the amount of plastic recycling in-state, meet consumers' basic expectations for buying recycled products, and create parity with the other container minimum recycling laws.
AB 1036 (McCarty) Composting - Next Step: Senate Environmental Quality Committee. AB 1036 seeks to address the disparity between the statewide goals and mandates to divert organic waste from landfills and the contradicting regulations from state agencies involved in permitting organics recycling facilities. If the state is to achieve diversion goals, including 75% organics diversion by 2025 set by last year's Short Lived Climate Pollutant bill signed into law, significant expansion and construction of organics infrastructure is needed.
AB 1288 (Eggman) Tip Fee reform - Next Step: Senate Environmental Quality Committee. AB 1288 seeks to address the need for more organics recycling infrastructure in order to meet the 75% organic waste diversion mandate set by the Short Lived Climate Pollutant law, SB 1383. As cities begin to comply with these organic waste diversion rates, they will have to face tough decisions when deciding how to fund new recycling programs. Raising the funds at a statewide level will allow for the funding of needed infrastructure without tough decisions at the local level. If the state is going to meet it's organic waste diversion mandates, significant investments in additional organics recycling facilities are needed.
AB 1884 (Calderon) Straws Upon Request - Next Step: Assembly Natural Resources Committee. In an effort to stop plastic pollution and reduce the overwhelming amount of single-use plastic Californian's consume on a daily basis, Assembly Bill 1884 would require 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.
AB 2379 (Bloom) Plastic Microfiber Pollution - Next Step: April 9, 2018 Hearing in Assembly Natural Resources Committee. This bill requires that all clothing made from more than 50% or more polyester include a label that warns of plastic microfiber shedding and recommends hand washing the item in order to reduce microfiber shedding. Microfibers are a subcategory of microplastics consisting of plastic fibers that shed from synthetic fabric during regular washing. Right now, it’s estimated that plastic microfibers are, by count, the single largest contributor to watershed plastic pollution in developed countries and account for a significant portion of plastic waste entering the ocean.
SB 458 (Wiener) Mobile Recycling Centers - SIGNED INTO LAW!
SB 458 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. CalRecycle is currently in the process of drafting regulations related to the execution of this temporary program.
AB 954 (Chiu) Food Waste Reduction - SIGNED INTO LAW! AB 954 is an important next step from last year'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) Carpet Recycling - SIGNED INTO LAW! AB 1158 would increase 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. The bill would protect consumer recycling fees funds from inappropriate uses such as paying civil penalties assessed by the State, or subsidizing the incineration of carpet. The bill would expand the participants on the carpet advisory committee and require that the recommendations of the committee be incorporated into the carpet stewardship plan, to the extent feasible. The bill would require that carpets purchased for use by the State includes a minimum amount of recycled carpet material.
AB 1219 (Eggman) The CA Good Samaritan Food Donation Act - SIGNED INTO LAW! AB 1219 will strengthen the laws which protect food donors in order to maximize food donations. Currently many businesses, retailers, and restaurants are either not aware of laws which protect food donors or are confused with the current laws in place. Food is the single most prevalent item in the waste stream and at the same time we have a hunger crisis in the state which affects one in eight Californians, including one in four children. By making clarifications and strengthening particular provisions, we can help to get more food to those who need it and less food going into landfills. CAW is a co-sponsor of the bill along with the California Association of Food Banks.
AB 1294 (Berman) Recycled Content Claims - SIGNED INTO LAW! This measure 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. Many environmentally conscious consumers often buy for products that claim to be "green", and unfortunately there are companies who seek to take advantage of that without having a product that is truly green. Requiring companies to maintain this information helps protect California consumers from companies that aren't truthful in their environmental claims.
AB 319 (Stone) Connect the Cap - Dead. Last Location: Assembly Floor. AB 319 would require that every plastic bottle sold in California has a cap that is connected to its bottle by 2020. By requiring connected caps, this bill would prevent bottle cap pollution in our environment, save bottle manufacturers money, and provide additonal material for recyclers to recover. Bottle caps are currently recovered at a low rate compared to bottles and are one of the top three items found in every large-scale beach clean-up in California where they are mistaken for food by wildlife, contribute to the growing plastic pollution in our ocean, and contribute to local government clean-up costs.
AB 509 (Frazier) Tire Recycling - Dead. Last location- suspense file, Senate Appropriations Committee. AB 509 would reform incentive payments to increase the state's stagnant recycling rate and allow recyclers to compete with disposal, export and illegal dumping alternatives. This would help expand the state's tire recycling infrastructure to reduce greenhouse gases, create jobs, and cut the statewide and local costs associated with tire cleanup. Fifty percent of the funds generated from this program will go to fund rubberized asphalt products; the remainder will go to other recycled products.
SB 705 (Allen) Sustainable Takeout Food Packaging - Dead. Last Location: Senate Floor. SB 705 would ban expanded polystyrene (commonly known as 'Styrofoam) food takeout containers statewide. Food packaging such as expanded polystyrene has a low recycling rate in the state due the lack of available recycling locations as well as the contamination of food making it virtually useless for recyclers. Polystyrene is one of the largest component of marine debris pollution because it is easily transported by wind and rain into the marine environment. Once in the environment, it kills marine wildlife, including sea birds and turtles, which mistake it for food.