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SB-343 Environmental advertising: recycling symbol.(2021-2022)

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Date Published: 02/09/2021 09:00 PM
SB343:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill
No. 343


Introduced by Senator Allen

February 09, 2021


An act to amend Section 17580 of the Business and Professions Code, and to amend Sections 18015 and 42355.5 of, and to add Section 42355.51 to, the Public Resources Code, relating to environmental advertising.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 343, as introduced, Allen. Environmental advertising: recycling symbol.
(1) Existing law declares that it is the public policy of the state that environmental marketing claims, whether explicit or implied, should be substantiated by competent and reliable evidence to prevent deceiving or misleading consumers about the environmental impact of plastic products and that, for consumers to have accurate and useful information about the environmental impact of plastic products, environmental marketing claims should adhere to uniform and recognized standards.
This bill would further declare that it is the public policy of the state that claims related to the recyclability of a plastic product be truthful and that consumers deserve accurate and useful information related to how to properly handle the end of life of a plastic product.
The bill would prohibit a person from offering for sale, selling, distributing, or importing into the state any product or packaging using a deceptive or misleading claim about its recyclability. The bill would provide that the display of a chasing arrows symbol, a chasing arrows symbol surrounding a resin identification code, or any other symbol or statement indicating the product or packaging is recyclable, or directing the consumer to recycle the product or packaging, is deemed to be a deceptive or misleading claim unless the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery has determined the product or packaging is recyclable through the methods described below.
The bill would require the department to update certain regulations to include the types and forms of plastic products and packaging for which a claim of recyclability may be made, including through the use of a chasing arrows symbol. The bill would require the department director to consider specified criteria to make that determination. The bill would require, based on that specified criteria, the department to develop and publish a list of the material types and forms determined to be recyclable. The bill would require the department to update the list, as specified, and if a material type and form is removed from the list, would prohibit a person from offering for sale, selling, distributing, or importing into the state any product or packaging manufactured 90 days after the list is updated if the product or packaging displays any of the same symbols or statements described above. The bill would authorize a producer, or group of producers, that seeks to have a material type and form that does not meet the specified criteria included on the list to submit a plan to the department detailing how and by what date the product type and form will meet the criteria, and requires the department to include that material type and form on the list, as specified.
(2) Under existing law, a person who represents in advertising or on the label or container of a consumer good that the consumer good that it manufactures or distributes is not harmful to, or is beneficial to, the natural environment, through the use of environmental terms, is required to maintain in its records specified information and documentation supporting the validity of the representation, including, if applicable, whether the consumer good conforms with the uniform standards contained in the Federal Trade Commission Guidelines for Environmental Marketing Claims for the use of the term “recyclable.” A violation of this requirement is a misdemeanor.
This bill would apply that recordkeeping requirement to a person who makes those representations through the use of a chasing arrow symbol, as defined, and would add to the required information and documentation for the use of the term “recyclable,” the use of a chasing arrow symbol, or other representation that advises consumers to recycle a consumer good, whether the consumer good meets the criteria for statewide recyclability, as specified above. Violation of these provisions would be a misdemeanor. This bill would therefore create a new crime and impose a state-mandated local program.
(3) Existing law requires all rigid plastic bottles and rigid plastic containers sold in the state to be labeled with a code that indicates the resin used to produce the bottles or containers, with specified numbers and letters placed in relation to a triangle.
This bill, on and after the date the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery lists the approved material types and forms of products and packaging that are recyclable, would prohibit the resin identification code from being placed inside a chasing arrows symbol, unless the department has determined the rigid plastic bottle or rigid plastic container is recyclable in the state, as specified.
(4) The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 17580 of the Business and Professions Code is amended to read:

17580.
 (a) Any A person who represents in advertising or on the label or container of a consumer good that the consumer good that it manufactures or distributes is not harmful to, or is beneficial to, the natural environment, through the use of such terms as “environmental choice,” “ecologically friendly,” “earth friendly,” “environmentally friendly,” “ecologically sound,” “environmentally sound,” “environmentally safe,” “ecologically safe,” “environmentally lite,” “green product,” or any other like term, or through the use of a chasing arrows symbol or by otherwise directing a consumer to recycle a consumer good, shall maintain in written form in its records the following information and documentation supporting the validity of the representation:
(1) The reasons why the person believes the representation to be true.
(2) Any significant adverse environmental impacts directly associated with the production, distribution, use, and disposal of the consumer good.
(3) Any measures that are taken by the person to reduce the environmental impacts directly associated with the production, distribution, and disposal of the consumer good.
(4) Violations of any federal, state, or local permits directly associated with the production or distribution of the consumer good.
(5) Whether or not, Whether, if applicable, the consumer good conforms with the uniform standards contained in the Federal Trade Commission Guidelines for Environmental Marketing Claims for the use of the terms “recycled,” “recyclable,” “biodegradable,” “photodegradable,” or “ozone friendly.”
(6) If the person uses the term “recyclable,” uses a chasing arrows symbol, or otherwise directs consumers to recycle the consumer good, whether the consumer good meets all of the criteria for statewide recyclability pursuant to Section 42355.51 of the Public Resources Code.
(b) Information and documentation maintained pursuant to this section shall be furnished to any member of the public upon request.
(c) For the purposes of this section, a wholesaler or retailer who does not initiate a representation by advertising or by placing the representation on a package shall not be deemed to have made the representation.
(d) It is the intent of the Legislature that the information and documentation supporting the validity of the representation maintained under this section shall be fully disclosed to the public, within the limits of all applicable laws.
(e) For the purposes of this section, “chasing arrows symbol” means an equilateral triangle, formed by three arrows curved at their midpoints, depicting a clockwise path, with a short gap separating the apex of each arrow from the base of the adjacent arrow. “Chasing arrows symbol” also includes variants of that symbol that are likely to be interpreted by consumers as an implication of recyclability, including, but not limited to, one or more arrows arranged in a circular pattern or around a globe.

SEC. 2.

 Section 18015 of the Public Resources Code is amended to read:

18015.
 (a) All rigid plastic bottles and rigid plastic containers sold in California shall be labeled with a code that indicates the resin used to produce the rigid plastic bottle or rigid plastic container. Rigid plastic bottles or rigid plastic containers with labels and basecups of a different material shall be coded by their basic material. The code shall consist of a number placed inside a triangle, and letters placed below the triangle. The numbers and letters used shall be as follows:
1 = PETE (polyethylene terephthalate)
2 = HDPE (high density polyethylene)
3 = V (vinyl)
4 = LDPE (low density polyethylene)
5 = PP (polypropylene)
6 = PS (polystyrene)
7 = OTHER (includes multilayer)
(b) A “7” shall appear below the resin abbreviation when the bottle or container is composed of more than one layer of that resin.
(c) The Division of Recycling in the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery shall maintain a list of abbreviations used on labels pursuant to subdivision (a) and shall provide a copy of that list to a person upon request.
(d) The resin identification code required pursuant to subdivision (a) shall not be placed inside a chasing arrows symbol, as defined in subdivision (e) of Section 17580 of the Business and Professions Code, unless the product is recyclable in the state of California pursuant to Section 42355.51.

SEC. 3.

 Section 42355.5 of the Public Resources Code is amended to read:

42355.5.
 (a) The Legislature finds and declares that it is the public policy of the state that environmental marketing claims, whether explicit or implied, should be substantiated by competent and reliable evidence to prevent deceiving or misleading consumers about the environmental impact of plastic products. For consumers to have accurate and useful information about the environmental impact of plastic products, environmental marketing claims should adhere to uniform and recognized standards, including those standard specifications established by the American Society for Testing and Materials.
(b) The Legislature further finds and declares that it is the public policy of the state that claims related to the recyclability of a plastic product be truthful in practice and accurate. Consumers deserve accurate and useful information related to how to properly handle the end of life of a plastic product.

SEC. 4.

 Section 42355.51 is added to the Public Resources Code, to read:

42355.51.
 (a) A person shall not offer for sale, sell, distribute, or import into California any product or packaging for which a deceptive or misleading claim about the recyclability of the product or packaging is made.
(b) On and after the date the list of approved material types and forms is published pursuant to subdivision (c), a product or packaging that displays a chasing arrows symbol, as defined in Section 17580 of the Business and Professions Code, a chasing arrows symbol surrounding a resin identification code, or any other symbol or statement indicating the product or packaging is recyclable, or directing the consumer to recycle the product or packaging, is deemed to be a deceptive or misleading claim unless the department has determined the product or packaging is of a material type and form that can be recyclable pursuant to subdivision (c).
(c) (1) On or before January 1, 2023, the department shall update the regulations developed pursuant Section 42370.2 to include the types and forms of plastic products and packaging for which a claim of recyclability, including through the use of a chasing arrows symbol, may be made.
(2) Concurrently with the regulations described in paragraph (1), the department shall develop a list of material types and forms that are determined to be recyclable based on the criteria listed in subdivision (d) and shall publish the list on its internet website within 90 days of the Office of Administrative Law approving the regulations.
(d) For purposes of determining which material types and forms are recyclable, the director shall consider, at a minimum, all of the following criteria:
(1) Whether the material type and form is eligible to be labeled as “recyclable” in accordance with the uniform standards contained in Article 7 (commencing with Section 17580) of Chapter 1 of Part 3 of Division 7 of the Business and Professions Code.
(2) Whether the material type and form is regularly collected, separated, and cleansed for recycling by recycling service providers.
(3) Whether the material type and form is regularly sorted and aggregated into defined streams for recycling processes.
(4) Whether the material type and form is regularly processed and reclaimed or recycled with commercial recycling processes.
(5) Whether the material type and form regularly becomes feedstock that is used in the production of new products.
(6) Whether the material type and form is recycled in sufficient quantity, and is of sufficient quality, to maintain a market value.
(e) (1) The department shall regularly, but no less than once every five years, evaluate the list described in paragraph (2) of subdivision (c) and may amend the list to remove or add a material type and form based on whether the material meets the criteria in subdivision (d) at the time of evaluation. The department shall post any updates to the list on its internet website.
(2) If a material type or form no longer meets the criteria in subdivision (d) and is removed from the published list, a person shall not offer for sale, sell, distribute, or import into California any product or packaging manufactured 90 days after the date the updated list is published if the product or packaging displays a chasing arrows symbol, as defined in Section 17580 of the Business and Professions Code, a chasing arrows symbol surrounding a resin identification code, or any other symbol or statement indicating the product or packaging is recyclable, or directing the consumer to recycle the product or packaging.
(f) (1) A producer, or group of producers, that seeks to have a material type and form that does not meet the criteria in subdivision (d) included on the list shall submit a plan to the department detailing how and by what date the product type and form will meet the criteria.
(2) The department shall review the plan and determine if the material type and form will meet the criteria in subdivision (d) by the date prescribed in the plan if the plan is implemented. If the department determines it will, the department shall include the material type and form on the list.
(3) The department may offer revisions to the plan if necessary, including requiring that the material type and form meet the criteria in a more timely manner.
(4) The department may require the producer, or group of producers, who submitted a plan pursuant to paragraph (1) to submit annual reports detailing the progress made toward implementing the plan. If the department determines the producer, or group of producers, are not implementing the plan or that progress is not sufficient to ensure the product type and form can meet the criteria by the date included in the plan, the department may do either of the following:
(A) Remove the material type and form from the list within 180 days.
(B) Allow the producer, or group of producers, to update and resubmit the plan.
(g) Development of, publication of, and updates made to the list pursuant to this section are exempt from Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 11340) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code.

SEC. 5.

 No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.