California Leads with Ting’s Historic, First-in-the-Country Proposal Requiring Recycled Content in Plastic CRV Bottles

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Mandate would be higher than the European Union; highest in world

California is poised to continue its environmental leadership by passing the world’s strongest recycling requirement that will help reduce litter and boost demand for used plastic materials. The California State Assembly today sent AB 792 to the Governor - a first-in-the-nation proposal by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) that phases-in the minimum amount of recycled materials plastic beverage bottles must contain, at a standard higher than that mandated in the European Union (EU).

“There’s a terrible cost to our environment if manufacturers are allowed to continue making new plastic every time they need a beverage container. They should reuse what they’ve already made,” said Ting. “If we don’t change now, we will have more plastic than fish in our oceans by 2050.”

The recent closure of the state’s remaining rePlanet recycling centers was, in part, due to dwindling domestic demand for recycled plastic. Additionally, China and other overseas markets stopped buying much of California’s recycled waste last year. Now, a crisis is mounting as recyclable plastic stacks up in warehouses or is sent to landfills. AB 792 bolsters demand for recycled plastic and ensures what has already been made does not contaminate our earth.

The EU has already set a goal of 25% recycled content in their plastic bottles by 2025 and 30% by 2030. California’s standards would be higher than the EU’s, establishing an even more aggressive timeframe for minimum recycled content in plastic beverage bottles:

  • January 2021  - 10% minimum contentCalifornia Leads with Ting’s Historic, First-in-the-Country Proposal Requiring Recycled Content in Plastic CRV Bottles
  • January 2025  - 25% minimum content
  • January 2030  - 50% minimum content

Under a compromise reached with stakeholders, AB 792 imposes penalties for non-compliance but grants CalRecycle the authority to adjust minimum content percentages in the event market conditions prevent companies from fulfilling the requirements. Although higher percentages were originally sought under the bill, including a 100% minimum content requirement by 2035, the proposal still represents a major step towards meeting California’s recycling and waste reduction goals

As with all bills sent to the Governor this month by the September 13 deadline, he has until October 13 to act.  If signed into law, AB 792 takes effect on January 1, 2020.

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