Two companion bills are moving in the California Legislature (SB 54 AB 1080) that would require the state Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) to adopt strict limits on single use packaging and single use plastic products. The program and authority given to the agency are vast and unprecedented in the United States. A large industry coalition is working to stop the legislation; however the current make-up of the Legislature makes this a difficult task.
Impact on ABA Members
Of greatest concern for ABA members and indeed all manufacturers and retailers is the enormous authority granted to CalRecycle to create such a massive program. As such, it is difficult to predict the degree of impact to bakers. Because “single use packaging” is undefined in the legislation, it is quite possible that regulators would seek to include such items as plastic trays and flexible plastic wrappers in the final rules. Should this become law, ongoing and active participation in the regulatory process will be necessary in the coming decade.
The bills have been amended several times; as currently drafted they would do the following:
- Declare a state policy goal that by 2030, manufacturers and retailers of single-use packaging must achieve a 75% reduction of the waste generated from single-use packaging sold in the state through source reduction, recycling, or composting
- Requires CalRecycle, by January 1, 2023, to adopt regulations that would do the following:
- Require manufacturers and retailers of single-use packaging to source reduce single-use packaging to the maximum extent feasible and to ensure that all single-use packaging in the California market is recyclable or compostable
- Require manufacturers and retailers of priority single-use plastic products to source reduce those products to the maximum extent feasible and to ensure that those products are recyclable or compostable
- Defines “priority single-use plastic product” as the 10 single-use plastic products that are most littered in the state, based on litter surveys conducted in California between 2017 and 2020
- Authorizes CalRecycle to identify single-use packaging or priority single-use plastic products that present unique challenges in complying with these requirements and requires CalRecycle to develop a plan to phase those packaging and products into the regulations
- Exempts medical devices, medical products from the law
- Requires CalRecycle to develop a scoping plan to achieve those recycling requirements and to evaluate the feasibility of employing specified regulatory measures
- Requires the regulations to include the following:
- A mechanism for counting the total statewide generation of single-use packaging and priority single-use plastic products to set a baseline amount
- A requirement for manufacturers and retailers of single-use packaging and priority single-use plastic products to annually report certain information relating to the quantity and type of packaging materials sold by the manufacturer or retailer into the state annually
- Create source reduction measures of single-use packaging and priority single-use plastic
- Requires CalRecycle to ensure that any regulations adopted account for health and safety as required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
- Requires CalRecycle to develop criteria to determine which types of single-use packaging or priority single-use plastic products are reusable, recyclable, or compostable
- Requires a manufacturer of single-use plastic packaging or priority single-use plastic products to demonstrate specified recycling rates that gradually increase to 75% by 2030
Contact ABA's Vice President, Political & State Affairs, Kelly Knowles with questions.