Today's Law As Amended

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AB-1972 Solid waste: plastic bags: food and beverage containers. (2007-2008)



SECTION 1.
 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) Littered plastic bags and plastic containers have caused and continue to cause significant environmental harm and have burdened local governments with significant environmental cleanup costs.
(b) It is the intent of the Legislature to ensure that environmental marketing claims, including claims of biodegradation, do not lead to an increase in environmental harm associated with plastic bag and plastic container litter by providing consumers with a false belief that certain bags and containers are less harmful to the environment if littered.
(c) The ability of a plastic bag or a plastic container to biodegrade is a function of both the physical and chemical makeup of the bag or the container as well as the environmental conditions that the bag or container is subjected to.
(d) Use of the term “degradable,” “biodegradable,” “decomposable,” or other similar terms on plastic bags and plastic containers is inherently misleading unless the claim includes a thorough disclaimer providing necessary qualifying details including, but not limited to, the environments and timeframes in which the claimed action will take place.
(e) Given the complex nature of biodegradation and the fact that most plastic bags and plastic containers will travel through multiple environments from the time of manufacture to the time of final disposition, and given the intrinsic constraints of marketing claims, including the space on the packaging container or bag, there is no reasonable ability for plastic bag and plastic container manufacturers to provide an adequate disclaimer qualifying the use of these and like terms without relying on an established scientific standard specification for the action claimed.
(f) Given these and other constraints, and the significant environmental harm that is caused by plastic bag and container litter, the use of these terms must be prohibited unless, or until such time as, there is a standard for the term claimed that has been approved by the Legislature.

SEC. 2.

 Section 42356 of the Public Resources Code is amended to read:

42356.
 For purposes of this chapter, the following definitions apply:
(a) “ASTM” means the ASTM International. American Society for Testing and Materials. 
(b) (1) “ASTM standard specification” means one of the following:
(A) The ASTM Standard Specification for Compostable Plastics D6400, as published in September 2004, except as provided in subdivision (c) of Section 42356.1.
(B) (A)  The ASTM Standard Specification for Non-Floating Biodegradable Plastics in the Marine Environment D7081,  Compostable Plastics D6400,  as published in August 2005, September 2004,  except as provided in subdivision (c) of Section 42356.1.
(B) The ASTM Standard Specification for Non-Floating Biodegradable Plastics in the Marine Environment D7081, as published in August 2005, except as provided in subdivision (c) of Section 42356.1.
(2) “ASTM standard specification” does not include an ASTM Standard Guide, a Standard Practice, or a Standard Test Method.
(C) The ASTM Standard Specification for Biodegradable Plastics Used as Coatings on Paper and Other Compostable Substrates D6868, as published in August 2003, except as specified in subdivision (c) of Section 42356.1.
(2) “ASTM standard specification” does not include an ASTM Standard Guide, a Standard Practice, or a Standard Test Method.
(c) “Department” means the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery.
(d) (c)  “Manufacturer” means a person, firm, association, partnership, or corporation that produces a plastic product. bag. 
(e) “OK home compost” means conformity with the existing Vincotte certification “OK Compost HOME certification” which, as of January 1, 2011, uses European Norm 13432 standard adapted to low-temperature composting in accordance with the Vincotte program “OK 2-Home Compostability of Products.”
(f) “Plastic product” means a product made of plastic, whether alone or in combination with other material, including, but not limited to, paperboard. A plastic product includes, but is not limited to, any of the following:
(1) (A) A consumer product.
(B) For purposes of this paragraph, “consumer product” means a product or part of a product that is used, bought, or leased for use by a person for any purpose.
(2) A package or a packaging component.
(3) A bag, sack, wrap, or other thin plastic sheet film product.
(4) A food or beverage container or a container component, including, but not limited to, a straw, lid, or utensil.
(g) (d)  “Supplier” means a person who does one or more of the following:
(1) Sells, offers for sale, or offers for promotional purposes, a plastic product that is used. bag that is used by a person to contain a product. 
(2) Takes title to a plastic product, bag  produced either domestically or in a foreign country, that is purchased for resale or promotional purposes.
(h) “Vincotte certification” means a certification of a European norm (EN) standard adopted by the Belgian-accredited inspection and certification organization Vincotte.

SEC. 3.

 Section 42356.1 is added to the Public Resources Code, to read:

42356.1.
 (a) If an ASTM standard specification specified in paragraph (1) of subdivision (b) of Section 42356 is subsequently revised, the board shall review the new ASTM standard specification as follows:
(1) If the board determines that the new standard is more stringent and more protective of the public health, safety, and the environment, and is reflective of and consistent with state policies and programs, the board may adopt the new standard.
(2) If the board determines that the new standard is not as stringent and does not protect the public health, safety, and the environment, and is not reflective of and consistent with state policies and programs, the board shall not adopt the new standard.
(b) If the ASTM, or any other entity, develops a new standard specification or other applicable standard for any of the terms prohibited under subdivision (a) of Section 42357, the board may review the new standard and, if the board determines that the new standard for the prohibited term is more stringent and more protective of the public health, safety, and the environment, and is reflective of and consistent with state policies and programs, the board may make a recommendation to the Legislature.
(c)  Compliance with a standard adopted pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) shall be deemed to be in compliance with this chapter.

SEC. 4.

 Section 42357 of the Public Resources Code is amended to read:

42357.
 (a) (1) Except as provided in paragraph (3), a  A  person shall not sell a plastic product bag  in this state that is labeled with the term “compostable,” “home compostable,”  “compostable”  or “marine degradable” degradable,”  unless, at the time of sale, the plastic product bag  meets the applicable ASTM standard specification, as specified in paragraph (1) of subdivision (b) of Section 42356 or the Vincotte OK Compost HOME certification, as provided in paragraph (4). 42356. 
(2) Compliance with only a section or a portion of a section of an applicable ASTM standard specification does not constitute compliance with paragraph (1).
(3) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), a person may sell a plastic product in this state that is labeled with a qualified claim for a term specified in paragraph (1), if the plastic product meets the relevant standard adopted by the department pursuant to Section 42356.2.
(4) (A) A plastic product shall not be labeled with the term “home compostable” unless the manufacturer of that plastic product holds a Vincotte OK Compost HOME certificate of conformity with regard to that product, except as provided in subparagraph (B) or (C).
(B) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), if the ASTM adopts a standard specification for the term “home compostable” on or before January 1, 2016, and the department determines that the ASTM standard specification is at least equal to, or more stringent than, the OK Compost HOME certification, a plastic product labeled with the term “home compostable” shall meet that ASTM standard specification. The department may also take the actions specified in Section 42356.1 with regard to an ASTM standard for home compostability.
(C) If the department adopts a standard pursuant to Section 42356.2, a plastic product labeled with the term “home compostable” shall meet that standard and not the standard specified in subparagraph (A) or (B).
(b) Except as provided in subdivision (a), a person shall not sell a plastic product bag  in this state that is labeled with the term “biodegradable,” “degradable,” or “decomposable,” or any form of those terms, or in any way imply that the plastic product  bag  will break down, fragment, biodegrade, or decompose in a landfill or other environment.
(c) A manufacturer or supplier, upon the request of a member of the public, shall submit to that member, within 90 days of the request, information and documentation demonstrating compliance with this chapter, in a format that is easy to understand and scientifically accurate.
(d)  A product that is in compliance with this chapter shall not, solely as a result of that compliance, be deemed to be in compliance with any other applicable marketing requirement or guideline established under state law or by the Federal Trade Commission.

SEC. 5.

 Section 42359.5 of the Public Resources Code is amended to read:

42359.5.
 For purposes of this chapter, the following definitions apply:
(a) “ASTM” means the American Society for Testing and Materials.
(b) “ASTM standard specification” means one of the following:
(1) The ASTM Standard Specification for Compostable Plastics D6400, as published in September 2004, except as specified in subdivision (c) of Section 42359.7.
(2) The ASTM Standard Specification for Non-Floating Biodegradable Plastics in the Marine Environment D7081, as published in August 2005, except as specified in subdivision (c) of Section 42359.7.
(3) The ASTM Standard Specification for Biodegradable Plastics Used as Coatings on Paper and Other Compostable Substrates D6868, as published in August 2003, except as specified in subdivision (c) of Section 42359.7.
(c)  “Food or beverage container” means a product that contains food or drink items, or utensils, for retail sale and is composed of one or more of the following:
(1) Plastic.
(2) Paper with plastic coatings.
(3) Paper with plastic modifiers.
(4) Molded fiber.
(d) “Manufacturer” means a person, firm, association, partnership, or corporation that produces a food or beverage container.
(e) “Supplier” means a person who does one or more of the following:
(1) Sells, offers for sale, or offers for promotional purposes, a food or beverage container that is used by a person to contain a product.
(2) Takes title to a food or beverage container produced either domestically or in a foreign country, that is purchased for resale or promotional purposes.

SEC. 6.

 Section 42359.6 of the Public Resources Code is amended to read:

42359.6.
 (a) (1) A person shall not sell a food or beverage container in this state that is labeled with the term “compostable” or “marine degradable,” unless, at the time of sale, the food or beverage container meets the applicable ASTM standard specification, as specified in subdivision (b) of Section 42359.5.
(2) Compliance with only a section or a portion of a section of an applicable ASTM standard specification does not constitute compliance with paragraph (1).
(b) Except as provided in subdivision (a), a person shall not sell a food or beverage container in this state that is labeled with the term “biodegradable,” “degradable,” or “decomposable,” or any form of those terms, or in any way imply that the food or beverage container will break down, fragment, biodegrade, or decompose in a landfill or other environment.
(c) A manufacturer or supplier, upon the request of a member of the public, shall submit to that member, within 90 days of the request, information and documentation demonstrating compliance with this chapter, in a format that is easy to understand and scientifically accurate.

SEC. 7.

 Section 42359.7 is added to the Public Resources Code, to read:

42359.7.
 (a) If an ASTM standard specification specified in subdivision (b) of Section 42359.5 is subsequently revised, the board shall review the new ASTM standard specification as follows:
(1) If the board determines that the new standard is more stringent and more protective of the public health, safety, and the environment, and is reflective of and consistent with state policies and programs, the board may adopt the new standard.
(2) If the board determines that the new standard is not as stringent and does not protect the public health, safety, and the environment, and is not reflective of and consistent with state policies and programs, the board shall not adopt the new standard.
(b) If the ASTM, or any other entity, develops a new standard specification, or another applicable standard, for any of the terms prohibited under subdivision (a) of Section 42359.6, the board may review the new standard and, if the board determines that the new standard for that prohibited term is more stringent and more protective of the public health, safety, and the environment, and is reflective of and consistent with state policies and programs, the board may make a recommendation to the Legislature.
(c) Compliance with a standard adopted pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) shall be deemed to be in compliance with this chapter.