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

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Date Published: 02/25/2021 09:00 PM
SB54:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  February 25, 2021

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill
No. 54


Introduced by Senators Allen, Stern, and Wiener
(Principal coauthor: Senator Gonzalez)
(Principal coauthors: Assembly Members Lorena Gonzalez, Muratsuchi, and Ting)
(Coauthor: Senator Becker)
(Coauthors: Assembly Members Boerner Horvath, Carrillo, Kamlager, and Luz Rivas)

December 07, 2020


An act to add Chapter 3 (commencing with Section 42050) to Part 3 of Division 30 of the Public Resources Code, relating to solid waste.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 54, as amended, Allen. Solid waste: disposable packaging and food ware. Plastic Pollution Producer Responsibility Act.
The California Integrated Waste Management Act of 1989, administered by the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery, generally regulates the disposal, management, and recycling of solid waste, including, among other solid waste, single-use plastic straws.

This bill would declare the intent of the Legislature to enact the Plastic Pollution Producer Responsibility Act, which would significantly reduce the amount of disposable packaging and food ware 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.

The Sustainable Packaging for the State of California Act of 2018 prohibits a food service facility located in a state-owned facility, operating on or acting as a concessionaire on state property, or under contract to provide food service to a state agency from dispensing prepared food using a type of food service packaging unless the type of food service packaging is on a list that the department publishes and maintains on its internet website that contains types of approved food service packaging that are reusable, recyclable, or compostable.
Existing law makes a legislative declaration that it is the policy goal of the state that, annually, not less than 75% of solid waste generated be source reduced, recycled, or composted.
This bill would establish the Plastic Pollution Producer Responsibility Act, which would prohibit producers of single-use, disposable packaging or single-use, disposable food service ware products from offering for sale, selling, distributing, or importing in or into the state such packaging or products that are manufactured on or after January 1, 2032, unless they are recyclable or compostable.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NOYES   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 (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) In order 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, it is the intent of the Legislature to enact the Plastic Pollution Producer Responsibility Act, which would 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

42050.
 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.