Californians Against Waste has been working hard all year to advance recycling and waste reduction in the state. Today, we're looking back at all we were able to accomplish, and all that we hope to accomplish in the future, as a result of your continued support.
Increased Funding for Recyclers
We began the year urging Governor Brown and the State Legislature to prioritize the Bottle Bill, and we haven't given up.
This fall, CalRecycle, the states recycling agency, exercised its administrative authority to propose emergency regulations to increase state payments, called processing payments, made to recycling centers. The increased payments to recycling centers in 2018 will help struggling centers stay open and allow our State Legislature to continue negotiating permanent reform.
CAW Legislation Delivers
In February, we saw a CAW sponsored law prohibiting the use of the term "biodegradable" from being used in the marketing of plastic products get put into action. Twenty-three of the State's District Attorneys announced that they had reached a settlement with Walmart to pay nearly $1 million, the largest fine issued to date for the sale of products that make misleading environmental claims.
In March, further success in cracking down on false environmental advertising came in the form of a federal appeals court denying an appeal filed by a company that was sued by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for using deceptive claims of "biodegradability". The decision sided with an Amicus brief filed by CAW in affirming the FTC's authority to prohibit greenwashing.
2017 Put a Dent in Food Waste
We sponsored two bills aimed at addressing the need to reduce food waste, both of which were passed the State Legislature and signed into law. AB 954, which promotes the use of uniform phrases for food date labels, and AB 1219, which updates and expands on California's food donor protection laws and requires statewide outreach to increase awareness of these laws.
The Fight for Sustainable Packaging Continues
Over the summer we saw a wave of support for replacing Styrofoam food containers with more sustainable alternatives, which led to local action by ten local governments, including Los Angeles County. While the statewide legislation to ban polystyrene food containers is on hold until 2018, there is no shortage of supporters who are urging their own cities to pass a ban.
New Laws to Reduce Waste Approved
In September, the Governor signed almost every recycling bill that passed the State Legislature into law, and approved the allocation of $40 million from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund for CalRecycle's grant programs, which fund composting and recycling facilities, as well as food waste prevention.
Building a Future for Statewide Composting
In October, CalRecycle published draft regulations for the implementation of SB 1383, the Short Lived Climate Pollutant Reduction Act, which was signed into law in 2016. When final, these regulations will require a 75% reduction in the disposal of organic waste by 2025, as well as a 20% reduction of edible food waste. With these regulations, statewide composting will finally become a reality.
Plastic Bag Ban Proves Successful
November 8th was the one year anniversary of the passage of Prop 67, the statewide single use plastic grocery bag ban. Litter data from Coastal Clean-up Day, held annually in September, shows a substantial decrease in plastic grocery bag litter. Preliminary data from the 2017 clean-up reported by hundreds of clean-up crews across the state shows that plastic grocery bag litter had dropped by 72% compared to 2010, and accounts for less than 1.5% of items littered.
Help us Continue the Fight
As we approach the new year with our eyes on 2018 legislation that will further improve recycling and waste prevention, we remain focused on some key issues: fixing the Bottle Bill, replacing expanded polystyrene food containers with sustainable alternatives, reducing food waste, and increasing recycling infrastructure.
We're celebrating these successes by taking this opportunity to say THANK YOU to all of our supporters who made these 2017 wins possible and to those who continue to support our work.