California to implement first national recycled content standards for plastic beverage bottles – CBS San Francisco


(BCN) – California is making strides in reducing plastic pollution with the country’s first legislation on standards for recycled content in plastic bottles. As of Jan. 1, all California Refund Value plastic beverage containers in the state must be made with at least 15 percent recycled material.

Ultimately, California’s goal is to require all plastic bottles to be made from 50 percent recycled material by 2030, which would exceed the European Union’s 30 percent mandate in as the highest percentage in the world.

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Assembly members Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, and Jacqui Irwin, D-Thousand Oaks, drafted Assembly Bill 793, originally approved by Governor Gavin Newsom in September 2020.

“California has long led the way in bold climate solutions, and the actions we are taking today are moving us closer to our ambitious goals,” Newsom said after signing the legislation. “I thank the Legislative Assembly for taking these important steps to protect the planet and public health. “

All bottled water, sodas and sports drinks in plastic bottles sold in the state, regardless of their manufacturing origins, must meet recycled content standards, or manufacturers will be subject to fines. Monetary penalties will then be paid to the state’s recycling improvement penalty account to support the collection and handling of plastic beverage bottles.

The California Department of Recycling and Resource Recovery, also known as CalRecycle, said penalties would be imposed annually and measured by $ 0.20 per pound, depending on how many manufacturers miss the mark.

CalRecycle also said the legislation will increase demand for recycled plastic, which will increase the value of plastics for recycling centers to partially relieve economic burdens.

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The hope is to reduce the state’s dependence on new plastics, made in part from petroleum and other fossil fuels, and reclaim recycling in the domestic sphere. With weak U.S. demand for recycled plastic, private recycling centers are closing across California, leaving consumers with few places to drop off their cans and bottles.

In August 2019, California’s largest recycling company, rePlanet, closed 284 recycling centers across the state.

And as overseas markets like China no longer buy recyclables from California, the options for storing these plastics are dwindling. In 2017, China was responsible for processing 55 percent of the state’s 14.6 million tonnes of recyclable material, according to the latest data from CalRecycle.

Ting is calling on other states to join California in enforcing the increased use of recycled plastic, rather than keeping it in warehouses and landfills.

“It’s ridiculous that companies make new plastic every time a beverage container is needed. At the rate we go, plastic waste will outnumber fish in our oceans by 2050, ”Ting said in a statement. “With AB 793, California is taking a big step to reverse this alarming trend and move towards a more sustainable model.”

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