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STOP PLASTIC POLLUTION

By 2050, the mass of plastic pollution in the ocean is projected to exceed the mass of fish. 

Research on tap water found 94% of samples from the US were contaminated with plastic microfibers. Another study found plastic or anthproprogenic particles in 67% of fish sampled across the globe. Plastic pollution doesn't just effect remote areas in the middle of the ocean or developing countries.  

CAW works to reduce or eliminate the problem materials of human consumption that threaten our oceans. We develop and promote waste reduction policies and programs.

CAW 2018 ACTION PLAN

The environmental damage and public costs of cleaning up and mitigating plastic pollution are staggering.  Public policy on this issue can only succeed if producers and corporate consumers of plastics are responsible for the costs of the externalities.  

The keys to any successful material specific policies to reduce plastics leaking into the environment:  

  1. Producer responsibility to achieve specific recycling and reduction goals.
  2. Producer responsibility to cover the net costs of the program.
  3. A Recycle or Die provision for problem products and materials whose environmental and public costs exceed their utility.
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Legislation in process:

  • SB 1335 (Allen) will reduce the amount of toxic waste that pollutes our state parks, beaches, and our oceans;
    chokes our landfills; and litters our communities by
    phasing out nonrecyclable take-out food packaging
    from state parks, beaches and facilities.
     
  • SB 168 (Wieckowski) would require CalRecycle to establish minimum recycled content standard for all beverage containers. This would create domestic demand for recycled material, decreasing the chance of that material entering the litter stream.
     
  • AB 1884 (Calderon) would prohibit the provision of straws unless a customer specifically requests one, reducing an obvious, wasteful, and easily avoidable source of waste.
     
  • AB 2379 (Bloom) would require all clothing made from more than 50% polyester include a label that warns of plastic microfiber shedding and recommends hand washing the item to reduce the impact.  This is only the first step in combating the largest source of marine plastic pollution from developed countries.
     
  • AB 2779 (Stone) would require all single-use plastic bottles sold in California have attached plastic bottle caps.  Plastic bottle caps are the third most common type of item collected in annual beach and river cleanups throughout the country.
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Existing California Laws:

  • California's Bottle Bill (Enacted 1987)  is the bottle and can take back program in which consumers pay $0.05 for containers under 24 ounces and $0.10 for containers over 24 ounces.  That money is returned to consumers when they recycle their containers, or is "donated" to a curbside operator or non-profit recycler depending on how the consumers choses to recycle the container. 
     
  • California's Single Use Plastic Bag Ban, SB 270 (Padilla, 2014) effectively phased out single-use plastic grocery bags. Reusable, paper, and (in certain jurisdictions) compostable plastic bags can only be distributed with a minimum 10 cent charge. 
     
  • AB 888 (Bloom, 2015) bans the sale of plastic microbeads found in toothpaste, facial scrubs and other personal care products.
     
  • AB 1294 (Berman, 2017) indefinitely extends requirement for manufacturers and suppliers of plastic products which contain claims of recycled content to maintain documentation that supports those claims.
     
  • SB 458 (Wiener, 2017) In light of California's beverage container recycling center closure crisis, SB 458 authorizes the creation of five pilot project recycling centers across the state. 
     
  • AB 2530 (Gordon, 2016) requires manufacturers to report the amount of virgin and post-consumer plastic they purchase the previous year.
     
  • AB 1005 (Gordon, 2016) extends California's Plastic Market Development Program, which has successfully increased the in-state processing and use of recycled plastic, to 2022. 
     
  • AB 199 (Eggman, 2015) provides financial assistance in the form of sales tax exemption on equipment purchases to businesses that process or utilized recycled feedstock.
     
  • AB 258 (Krekorian, 2007) created a task force to monitor and regulate the release of preproduction plastic pellets released into the marine environment.
 

With policies like China's National Sword, we are at a turning point in the crisis of plastic pollution: take action to redesign products and reduce our consumption, or allow the problem to worsen with fewer opportunities to recycle.