Oct 11 - 2011 Legislative Wrap Up


The legislative session ended Sunday with more good news. Governor Jerry Brown signed all CAW-sponsored bills that reached his desk, including a measure that establishes the most ambitious recycling goal in the nation.

We can now call the first year of the 2011-12 legislative session a qualified success for recycling. There were major victories, but some important measures that addressed e-waste and polystyrene food packaging stalled in the legislature.

CAW Sponsored Bills Signed:

AB 341 (Chesbro) Jobs & Recycling. AB 341 is the result of a hard-fought four year legislative campaign that establishes an ambitious new recycling paradigm for the state. AB 341 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 our calculations, AB 341 has the potential to create upwards of 60,000 jobs and reduce enough greenhouse gases equal to nearly 3 months of average household energy use. It would create green jobs by expanding recycling to every multi-family dwelling and business and would grant CalRecycle the responsibility for ensuring that the state is recycling at least 75% of the garbage that it generates by 2020.

AB 1149 (Gordon & Wieckowski) Plastic Market Development. AB 1149 will extend and expand this market-based incentive program from $10 million annually to at least $20 million in 2012. This program has succeeded in creating in-state capacity and jobs for recycled plastic.

SB 567 (DeSaulnier) Truthful Environmental Advertising in Plastics. SB 567 bans the use of the deceptive environmental claim "biodegradable" and prohibits other greenwashing attempts unless manufacturer claims can meet specified pass-fail standards for plastics. The bill strengthens existing law by expanding these requirements on plastic bags and food containers to all plastic products, starting in January 2013.

AB 525 (Gordon) Tires. This bill supports sustainable markets for recycled tires by extending CalRecycle's successful Rubberized Asphalt Concrete grant program.

Priority Two Year Bills We Support:

AB 960 (Lowenthal) E-waste Export Restriction. The measure requires e-waste recyclers to conform their export practices as a condition of receiving existing recycling payments under California’s e-waste law. This bill will help create jobs for collection and recycling of electronic waste, as well as material extraction and reuse market.

SB 568 (Lowenthal) Styrofoam Container Phase-Out. SB 568 phases out the use and distribution of Styrofoam containers by food vendors in California starting in 2016.

AB 298 (Brownley) Safe Reusable Bags. AB 298 would ensure that Californians have safe, environmentally superior alternatives to single-use bags by requiring that reusable bags can be cleaned or washed and meet certain health and safety standards in terms of lead and other heavy metals.

SB 515 (Corbett) Household Battery EPR. Would create a product stewardship program for batteries by requiring manufacturers of household batteries to submit and implement a stewardship plan to recycle batteries.

Status of Other 2011 Waste and Recycling Legislation

Bills Signed by the Governor

AB 255 (Wieckowski) allows for (but not require) HHW programs to accept high volume paint.

AB 408 (Wieckowski) provides regulatory reform to make paint and used oil recycling easier.

AB 712 (Williams) Local governments that limit Convenient Zone recyclers would not be eligible for Bottle Bill grants.

AB 818 (Blumenfield), the Renter's Right to Recycle Act, provides a residential recycling opportunity for more than 7.1 million Californians residing in more than 2.4 million multifamily dwelling units. Although signed, this bill was superseded by AB 341 (Chesbro), which also enacted a multifamily recycling requirement.

SB 456 (Huff) encourages door-to-door household hazardous waste collection.

SB 489 (Wolk) supports anaerobic digesters and other small renewable energy projects by allowing them to be included in the state's Net Energy Metering program.

Bills Vetoed by the Governor

SB 833 (Vargas) would have limited the building of landfills that are within a specific distance of a San Diego waterway or Native American sacred site. Specifically, this legislation would have applied to the proposed Gregory Canyon Landfill.


Other 2-Year Bills That Can Be Acted on Next Year

AB 812 (Ma) would increase the allowable amount of recycled asphalt pavement used by CalTrans to 50%.

AB 837 (Nestande) creates truthful advertising for rigid plastic packaging containers through accurate recycled content reporting.

AB 1178 (Ma) prohibits local governments from limiting disposal of imported waste.

SB 419 (Simitian) requires a medical sharp manufacturer to submit its mandated disposal plan in an electronic format and post a copy of the plan on its website.

AB 583 (Knight) consolidates the e-waste program by transferring DTSC powers to CalRecycle.

SB 515 (Corbett) would establish a product stewardship program for batteries.

SB 915 (Calderon) mandates reduced plastic bag use and establishes a schedule of required recycled content in plastic bags, including both post consumer content and post-industrial content.

SB 589 (Lowenthal) would create a product stewardship program for fluorescent lamps.

Legislation That Failed to Pass and is not Eligible to be Acted On

AB 34 (Williams) targets the most prevalent items in our waste stream by encouraging the development of compost facilities to recycle organic materials.

AB 900 (Swanson) was amended to deal with another issue, but, previously, would have encouraged recycling and composting programs in schools.

AB 921 (Allen) would have directed the state to measure the water efficiency benefits of applying compost to croplands.

AB 1019 (J. Perez) would reauthorize AB 2398, the Carpet Stewardship Bill passed last year.