Today's Law As Amended


PDF |Add To My Favorites |Track Bill | print page

AB-1469 Solid waste: plastic products: labeling: compostability and biodegradability.(2021-2022)



As Amends the Law Today


SECTION 1.
 (a) The Legislature finds and declares all the following:
(1) At the world’s current pace, by 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean. Californians must work to ensure that plastics do not overtake our oceans.
(2) Every year, about 8,000,000 tons of plastic waste escapes into the oceans from coastal nations. Plastics often contain additives that strengthen them, which require an estimated minimum of 400 years to break down.
(3) Millions of animals are killed by plastics every year, from birds to fish to other marine organisms. Microplastics have been found in over 100 aquatic species, including fish, shrimp, and mussels, some of which are destined for human consumption.
(4) In California, many manufacturers of synthetic materials that do not biodegrade in the environment label their products “compostable.” A reasonable consumer expects that a product labeled “compostable” will biodegrade if it ends up in natural environments, like backyard compost or the ocean. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Products that are “industrially compostable” may break down in hot industrial compost facilities, but may also break down as slowly as traditional nonbiodegradable plastic in natural environments.
(b) To address the labeling of plastic products that are misleading to consumers, resulting in consumer confusion and environmental damage, and to help reduce plastic pollution, it is the intent of the Legislature to ensure that plastic products are appropriately labeled according to the end-of-life biodegradability standards that they meet and to prohibit the label “compostable” on plastic products that do not meet a consumer’s reasonable expectation of being “home compostable.”

SEC. 2.

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

42357.
 (a) (1) Except as provided in paragraph (3), a person shall not sell a plastic product in this state that is labeled with either of the following:
(a) (A)  (1) The  Except as provided in paragraph (3), a person shall not sell a plastic product in this state that is labeled with the term “compostable” or “home   term “industrially  compostable” unless, at the time of sale, the plastic product meets the applicable ASTM standard specification, as specified in paragraph (1) of subdivision (b) of Section 42356, or, if applicable, the plastic product has OK compost HOME certification, as provided in paragraph (4). 42356. 
(B) The term “compostable” or “home compostable” unless, at the time of sale, the plastic product has OK compost HOME certification, as provided in paragraph (4).
(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 meets either of the following conditions:
(3) (A)  Notwithstanding paragraph (1), a person may sell a plastic product in this state that  The plastic product  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.
(B) The plastic product is labeled in compliance with a relevant standard adopted by the department pursuant to Section 42356.2, subdivision (a) of Section 42356.1, or subdivision (g).
(4) (A) A plastic product shall not be labeled with the term “home compostable” unless the manufacturer of that plastic product holds OK compost HOME certification 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) or (f), a person shall not sell a plastic product 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 will break down, fragment, biodegrade, or decompose in a landfill or other environment.
(c) The director may issue guidelines, consistent with this chapter, for determining whether a plastic product is not compliant with the labeling requirements of this section, and whether a plastic product is designed, pigmented, or advertised in a manner that is misleading to consumers.
(d) 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.
(e) 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.
(f) (1) The department may adopt the European Committee for Standardization’s standard specification EN 17033:2018 entitled “Plastics—Biodegradable mulch films for use in agriculture and horticulture—Requirements and test methods” or may adopt a standard that is equivalent to, or more stringent than, that standard, as it read on January 1, 2020.
(2) A person may sell commercial agricultural mulch film labeled with the term “soil biodegradable” only if the department has adopted the standard specification, or an equivalent or more stringent standard, pursuant to paragraph (1) and the commercial agricultural mulch film is certified to meet both that specification and the ASTM standard specification for compostability.
(3) For purposes of this subdivision, “commercial agricultural mulch film” means film plastic that is used only as a technical tool in commercial farming applications.
(g) For the terms described in subdivision (a), the department may, through an open and transparent public process enabling public input, adopt one or more additional standard specifications that have been adopted or developed by ASTM International or a similar standard-setting organization for exemption from the labeling prohibition, if the department determines that the use of the standard specification will not impair the environment or mislead consumers in a manner that is inconsistent with the intent described in Section 42355.5.