Today's Law As Amended

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SB-54 Plastic Pollution Producer Responsibility Act.(2021-2022)

As Amends the Law Today

 (a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(1) Annual global production of plastic has reached 335,000,000 tons and continues to rise. The United States alone discards 30,000,000 tons each year. Global plastic production is projected to more than triple by 2050, accounting for 20 percent of all fossil fuel consumption.
(2) Without action, projections estimate that by 2050 the mass of plastic pollution in the ocean will exceed the mass of fish. A study by the University of Exeter and Plymouth Marine Laboratory in the United Kingdom found plastics in the gut of every single sea turtle examined and in 90 percent of seabirds. Additionally, plastic negatively affects marine ecosystems and wildlife, as demonstrated by countless seabirds, turtles, and marine mammals, including, but not limited to, whales and dolphins, dying from plastic ingestion or entanglement.
(3) Based on data from the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. trade statistics, and industry news source Resource Recycling, Inc., the national recycling rate for plastic was projected to sink from 9.1 percent in 2015 to 4.4 percent in 2018, and to drop to 2.9 percent in 2019. Even in California, less than 15 percent of single-use, disposable plastic is recycled.
(4) Before 2017, the United States was sending 4,000 shipping containers full of American waste to China every day, including two-thirds of the state’s potentially recyclable materials. However, China has implemented the Green Fence, National Sword, and Blue Sky policies, severely restricting the amount of contaminated and poorly sorted plastics it would accept. This shift in China’s policy has resulted in the loss of markets for low-value plastic packaging that was previously considered recyclable. That material is now being landfilled or burned.
(5) Additionally, the foreign market for recycled paper has collapsed in the state. Foreign exports of mixed paper fell from over 400,000 tons in the first quarter of 2017 to just 136,000 tons in the first quarter of 2018. The price of mixed paper fell from ninety-five dollars ($95) per ton to just ten dollars ($10) per ton in the same timeframe.
(6) The loss of markets for recyclable material has added huge costs to local programs for the disposal and diversion of material. For many cities, counties, and waste haulers in the state, recycling has turned from a profitable business into an activity that actually costs local governments and solid waste service providers money. These costs are being absorbed by city general funds, by solid waste collectors and processors, or by rate increases on residents for waste collection.
(7) The environmental and public health impacts of plastic pollution are devastating, and the environmental externalities and public costs of cleaning up and mitigating plastic pollution are already staggering and continue to grow. Most plastics are petrochemicals made from hydrocarbons derived from fossil fuels. Production of these materials contributes to climate change and furthers the reliance on nonrenewable resources. Litter of these plastics constitutes a form of oil pollution spilling into the oceans and contaminating the environment.
(8) Local governments in the state annually spend in excess of four hundred twenty million dollars ($420,000,000) in ongoing efforts to clean up and prevent plastic and other litter from entering the state’s rivers and streams and polluting the state’s beaches and oceans.
(9) Evidence now shows that even the state’s own food and drinking water sources are contaminated with plastic. Microplastics have been found in tap water, bottled water, table salt, and fish and shellfish from local California fish markets. A growing body of research is finding plastic and associated toxins throughout the food web, including in human blood, feces, and tissues. Exposure to these toxins has been linked to cancers, birth defects, impaired immunity, endocrine disruption, and other ailments.
(10) It is the policy goal of the state that not less than 75 percent of solid waste generated be source reduced, recycled, or composted by the year 2020. However, as of 2017, the state was only on track to reach 44 percent, a peak level still falling far short of this important goal. By 2019, the rate had dropped to 37 percent. Additionally, the state has done little to require businesses to reduce the amount of disposable packaging and single-use, disposable food service ware waste they generate in the state.
(11) As the fifth largest economy in the world, California has a responsibility to lead on solutions to the growing plastic pollution crisis, and to lead in the reduction of unnecessary waste generally.
(12) Further, businesses selling products into the state have a responsibility to ensure that their packaging and products are minimizing waste, including ensuring materials used are reusable, recyclable, or compostable. This responsibility includes paying for the cost of the negative externality of recovery for the materials they sell in the state.
(13) All disposable packaging and food service ware should be able to be recycled or composted.
(b) It is the intent of the Legislature in adopting this act to substantially reduce local, statewide, and global impacts resulting from the generation and improper handling of disposable packaging and food service ware waste to achieve the state’s 75-percent source reduction, recycling, and reuse goal, and to significantly reduce the amount of this waste entering California’s waste stream, polluting oceans, littering local communities and beaches, and costing local governments millions of dollars in cleanup costs through source reduction requirements and increased composting and recycling.

SEC. 2.

 Chapter 3 (commencing with Section 42050) is added to Part 3 of Division 30 of the Public Resources Code, to read:

CHAPTER  3. Plastic Pollution Producer Responsibility Act
 Consistent with the policy goal established in Section 41780.01, producers of single-use, disposable packaging or single-use, disposable food service ware products shall not offer for sale, sell, distribute, or import in or into the state single-use, disposable packaging or single-use, disposable food service ware products manufactured on or after January 1, 2032, unless the packaging or food service ware product is recyclable or compostable.