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AB-1201 Solid waste: plastic products: labeling: compostability and biodegradability.(2021-2022)

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Date Published: 04/05/2021 09:00 PM
AB1201:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  April 05, 2021

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 1201


Introduced by Assembly Member Ting

February 18, 2021


An act to amend Section 42357 of the Public Resources Code, relating to solid waste.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1201, as amended, Ting. Solid waste: plastic products: labeling: compostability and biodegradability.
Existing law prohibits a person from selling a plastic product that is labeled as “compostable” or “home compostable” unless, at the time of sale, the plastic product meets a specified specification or has a specified certification, as provided. Existing law prohibits the sale of a plastic product that is labeled as “biodegradable,” “degradable,” or “decomposable,” and prohibits implying that a plastic product will break down, fragment, biodegrade, or decompose in a landfill or other environment, unless the plastic product meets one of several specified standards relating to environmental marketing claims.
Existing law authorizes the Director of Resources Recycling and Recovery to issue guidelines for determining whether a plastic product is not compliant with these labeling requirements, and whether a plastic product is designed, pigmented, or advertised in a manner that is misleading to consumers.
This bill would prohibit a person from selling a plastic product that is labeled with the term “compostable,” “home compostable,” or “soil biodegradable” unless the product meets specified standards and satisfies specified criteria. The bill would authorize the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery to adopt regulations for plastic product labeling to ensure that plastic products labeled “compostable” or “home compostable” are clearly distinguishable from noncompostable products upon quick inspection by consumers and solid waste processing facilities.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 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 the term “compostable” or “home 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).
(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 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) (1) A person shall not sell a plastic product in this state that is labeled with the term “compostable,” “home compostable,” or “soil biodegradable” unless the product satisfies all of the following:
(A) Meets the D6400 or D6868 ASTM Test Method for compostability.
(B) Has certification from the Biodegradable Products Institute or a third party, subject to paragraph (2), for meeting compostability and toxicity standards.
(C) Is an allowable organic input under the requirements of the National Organic Program and the Department of Food and Agriculture’s Organic Input Material Program.
(D) Does not include intentionally added perfluorinated compounds. perfluoroalkyl or polyfluoroalkyl substances.
(E) Is labeled in a manner that clearly distinguishes the product from a noncompostable or nonbiodegradable product upon quick inspection by consumers and solid waste processing facilities. facilities, and, where possible, that includes the word “compostable,” an approved third-party certification mark, and the use of green or brown colors.
(2) For purposes of subparagraph (B) of paragraph (1), the director may approve a recognized third-party independent verification body that has certification requirements that are equivalent to, or more stringent than, those required by the Biodegradable Products Institute.
(3) The department may adopt regulations for plastic product labeling to ensure that plastic products labeled “compostable” or “home compostable” are clearly distinguishable from noncompostable products upon quick inspection by consumers and solid waste processing facilities. The department, in adopting regulations pursuant to this subdivision, may consider the plastic product labeling requirements of other states states, stakeholder input, and industry-standard guidelines to maximize consistency with those requirements and guidelines and that input when possible.