Update: California Governor Signs Recycled-Content Bill

Friday, September 25, 2020
Publication: Recycling Today

Gov. Newsom vetoed a previous version of the bill

California’s AB 793, which would require manufacturers to include recycled materials when making plastic beverage bottles, was approved by the state legislature in early September and was signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom Sept. 24. The legislation sets a phased-in timeline of when companies must meet minimum content standards, ultimately achieving 50 percent recycled content, surpassing the 30 percent mandate in the European Union.

“The time has come for shared responsibility,” says California Assemblymember Phil Ting, one of the bill’s sponsors. “Our environment suffers when companies keep making new plastic every time they need a drink container. They need to reuse what they’ve already made. If we don’t make this shift, we will have more plastic than fish in our oceans by 2050.”

AB 793 is designed to bolster the market for recycled polyethylene terephthalate in the state. Manufacturers must meet a number of deadlines for recycled content, achieving 15 percent by 2022, 25 percent by 2025 and 50 percent by 2030.  

“Assemblymember Ting and I worked extensively with the industry stakeholders to ensure that this bill is both bold and workable,” says California Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin. “The result is the most aggressive recycled content mandate in the world for plastic bottles.”

AB 793 is Ting’s second attempt at recycled-plastic content in bottles. Newsom vetoed a similar bill last year because of cost concerns, which Tsing says have been addressed this year.

By signing AB 793, Newsom has made California the first state in the nation to establish minimum recycled content requirements for plastic beverage containers. 

“California has long led the way on bold solutions in the climate space, and the steps we take today bring us closer to our ambitious goals,” Newsom said upon signing the bill. “I thank the legislature for taking these important steps to protect the planet and public health.”