May 14 - BREAKING: CalRecycle Unveils Plan to get to 75%

Share A lot is happening this week in California recycling:

  • CalRecycle Unveils their Plan to get to 75% Recycling by 2020
  • Mixed News for Beverage Container Recycling
  • Will LA become the latest & largest city to ban plastic bags?
  • Governor to release Final Budget Proposal Today
  • Legislative Update

75% Recycling Plan:
CalRecycle has unveiled an ambitious plan to implement AB 341 (Chesbro), CAW-sponsored legislation which sets a 75% recycling target for the state by 2020. This plan is a bold first step towards tackling the estimated 37 million tons of garbage that end up in California’s landfills and waste-to-energy facilities every year.

Highlights of the Plan:

  • Strong target. The report moves away from previous "diversion" accounting towards measuring a 75% recycling rate, an ambitious target that will require an all-of-the-above approach. CalRecycle estimates that 22 million tons per year will need to be recycled by 2020 in order to achieve the goals of AB 341.
  • Expand the Bottle Bill. CalRecycle recommends adding all ready-to-drink beverages (except for milk, medical food and baby formula). CAW is strongly in support of this.
  • Phase-out the landfilling of organics: CalRecycle suggests banning the disposal of some organic materials and getting rid of the "diversion credit" given to organic materials used a cover at landfills will be a key element of reaching the AB 341 goals. According to CalRecycle, "the 75% goal likely cannot be reached unless a significant amount of organics now being landfilled is instead used by composting, anaerobic digestion, and recycling facilities."

The report also recommends: increasing commercial recycling, funding and streamlining permitting for domestic recycling infrastructure, increasing state agency use of recycled materials, funding waste tire recycling incentives, banning the disposal of cardboard, targeting wasteful packaging, and promoting local zero waste efforts. Read the full report.

A workshop will be held at 1 pm today at the Byron Sher Conference Room in the Cal/EPA building in Sacramento.

CAW will be at the workshop, but we will need your help in the coming months to insure that the state follows through on expanding the bottle bill and the other reforms needed to achieve AB 341.

Mixed News for Beverage Container Recycling
The latest CA Beverage Container Recycling Rates show continued high (82%) recycling. But there is some cause for concern: Plastic Beverage Containers have now surpassed Aluminum in market share, but the recycling rate for plastic remains below 70% (rates for Aluminum are 97%; and Glass is 84%). In fact, PET recycling is at the lowest level in 3 years. Last year, more than 350,000 tons of plastic containers were littered and landfilled, at the same time that CA plastic processors struggle to get a sufficient supply of recycled plastic to meet manufacturer demand. This material has an economic value to California’s economy of more than $172 million. Help us expand the bottle bill by making a contribution today!

Turning the Tide on Plastic Bags: Local Bans
Take a look at our list of local adopted bag bans—as of yesterday evening 26 ordinances covering 47 local cities and counties have been adopted, and the numbers continue to grow! The overwhelming majority of these ordinances will be operative by the end of 2012. It’s clear that the ultimate extinction of the single-use plastic bag is inevitable and will not be mourned.

May was a month of many firsts in local bag ban history:

  • May 2: Ukiah (FIRST in Mendocino County!) adopts a plastic bag ban with a 10 cent charge on paper bags in all retail stores
  • May 8: Watsonville (FIRST city in Santa Cruz County!) adopts a plastic bag ban with an initial 10 cent charge on paper bags in all retail stores
  • May 9: Solana Beach (FIRST in San Diego County!) adopts a plastic bag ban with a 10 cent charge on paper bags in all retail stores and restaurants

State Updates: Hawaii Says Goodbye to Bags, Illinois Bill is Step In Wrong Direction

  • Hawaii: On May 10, the State of Hawaii became the first in the nation to ban plastic bags. Honolulu, the last of four counties without a bag ban, adopted a plastic bag ordinance last month and the mayor signed the bill into law on Thursday. While Hawaii accomplished this through local ordinances, the title for "First To Pass Statewide Bag Bill" is still up for grabs. Read our blog article.
  • Illinois: SB 3442 was recently amended and is currently in the second house of the legislature. Under the guise of a measure encouraging manufacturers to minutely increase plastic bag recycling, the bill prohibits local governments with populations smaller than 2 million (essentially every city but Chicago) from passing a bag ban. Take action against this bill—if you’re not an IL resident but know someone who is, please forward.

Take Action: LA City Needs to Stop Dragging Its Feet on a Bag Ban
The City of Los Angeles is scheduled to consider a bag ban on May 23. This comes after a 2008 motion to ban bags, a December 2011 directive to adopt an ordinance by last March, and several weeks of pushing back the council consideration date. It’s PAST time for the City to take action and join the other local governments in banning plastic bags. If a ban is adopted, LA would be the largest city with a ban, and brings an additional 10% of our state’s population under a bag ordinance.

Take a few minutes to urge City Council to stop delaying this vote and support a bag ban in LA!

Governor to release Final Budget Proposal Today
We are currently reviewing the Governor’s May Revise. Look for an update later this week from us.

Legislative Update: (To see the full list, please visit our website).

  • SB 1118 (Hancock). In order to address illegal dumping of mattresses, Senator Hancock has introduced a bill that would require manufacturers to be responsible for collection and recycling of used mattresses. It is currently in fiscal committee.
  • AB 1647 (Gordon) will be amended over the next few days to change the way waste tire permits are issued in order to tackle the rising tide of illegal tire bail-and-ship operations which are threatening to shut down California’s tire recycling industry. It is headed for fiscal committee.
  • AB 1933 (Gordon), the beverage container enforcement bill sailed through the first house and it is now in the Senate, where it will be heard in policy committee today.

CAW Needs Your Help. As you can see, while the State faces another year of budget challenge, policy makers have recognized that expanded recycling represents an opportunity to both reduce unnecessary local government pollution control costs, as well as increase economic development and jobs.

We have a tremendous opportunity to expand recycling this year, but our resources are maxed out. Please consider making a special online contribution today to support our work.