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AB-2379 Waste management: polyester microfiber.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 02/14/2018 09:00 PM


Assembly Bill No. 2379

Introduced by Assembly Member Bloom
(Coauthors: Assembly Members Gonzalez Fletcher and Mark Stone)

February 14, 2018

An act to add Chapter 6 (commencing with Section 42368) to Part 3 of Division 30 of the Public Resources Code, relating to waste management.


AB 2379, as introduced, Bloom. Waste management: polyester microfiber.
The Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (Proposition 65) prohibits any person, in the course of doing business, from knowingly and intentionally exposing any individual to a chemical known to the state to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity without giving a specified warning, or from discharging or releasing such a chemical into any source of drinking water, except as specified. Existing law prohibits the sale of expanded polystyrene packaging material by a wholesaler or manufacturer unless that material is composed of 100% recycled material. Existing law prohibits a person from selling a plastic product in this state that is labeled with the term “compostable,” “home compostable,” or “marine degradable” unless, at the time of sale, the plastic product meets the applicable ASTM International standard specification. Existing law prohibits, on and after January 1, 2020, a person, business, or other entity from selling or offering for promotional purposes in this state a personal care product containing plastic microbeads, as specified.
This bill would require that clothing made from fabric that is more than 50% polyester bear a conspicuous label stating that the garment sheds plastic microfibers when washed and recommending hand washing. The bill would prohibit a person, on and after January 1, 2020, from selling or offering for sale clothing made from fabric that is more than 50% polyester that does not bear that label.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NO   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


 (a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(1) Microfiber is a subcategory of microplastic that is shed from synthetic fabric when that fabric is washed.
(2) These small, nondegradable fibers that are less than 5 millimeters in length are a major category of plastic pollution in water, pose a serious threat to the environment, and have been found within fish and shellfish that are consumed by humans.
(3) Garments made from synthetic fabrics, such as polyester, can shed up to 1,900 microfibers per wash.
(4) Polyester is the most widely used fiber in the textiles industry and accounts for about 50 percent of the total fiber market.
(5) Effluent from washing machines and wastewater treatment plants is a significant source of microfiber pollution that enters waterways and the ocean.
(b) It is therefore the intent of the Legislature to do both of the following:
(1) Recognize the emerging threat that microfibers pose to the environment and water quality and provide information to the general public about the sources of microfiber pollution.
(2) Reduce the amount of microfiber that enters the environment and is subsequently consumed by wildlife.

SEC. 2.

 Chapter 6 (commencing with Section 42368) is added to Part 3 of Division 30 of the Public Resources Code, to read:
CHAPTER  6. Microfiber Pollution Education and Reduction

 For purposes of this chapter, the following definitions apply:
(a) “Clothing” means an article of apparel intended to be worn by a person, not including hats or shoes.
(b) “Plastic microfiber” means a small polyester particle that is fibrous in shape, less than 5 millimeters in length, and is released into water through the regular washing of polyester-based textiles.

 (a) Clothing made from fabric that is more than 50 percent polyester shall bear a conspicuous label that states: “This garment sheds plastic microfibers when washed. Hand washing recommended.”
(b) On and after January 1, 2020, a person shall not sell or offer for sale clothing made from fabric that is more than 50 percent polyester, unless the clothing is labeled in accordance with this section.