Food and Beverage Business

California Implements Game-Changing Recycling Reforms for Plastic Pollution and Beverage Containers

California Implements Game-Changing Recycling Reforms for Plastic Pollution and Beverage Containers beverage packaging, food and drink packaging, food and drink sustainable packaging, Food packaging, plastics, Recyclability Food and Beverage Business

In a move to combat the growing global plastic pollution crisis and drive innovation and job creation, California is implementing new recycling regulations, reforms, and funding initiatives to reduce single-use plastic waste through advanced technology.

By paving the way for a circular-use economy that prioritizes reusing materials and products for as long as possible, California has introduced draft regulations for the country’s most stringent requirements for producers to decrease single-use plastic waste and ensure that the packaging on their products is recyclable or compostable. The state will also begin formal rulemaking for a groundbreaking law that expands beverage container redemption through innovative technology and partnerships.

California’s Secretary for Environmental Protection, Yana Garcia, stated, “For decades, plastics have been falsely advertised as recyclable, while being designed for disposal. This waste ends up in landfills or polluting vulnerable communities. California is taking leading action to hold plastic producers accountable, protect the environment, and build solutions for effective recycling.”

Furthermore, CalRecycle has announced $55 million in grants to support technology solutions and workforce development for the future of recycling in California.

Nation’s toughest rules for single-use packaging and plastic recycling

With packaging accounting for over 50% of California’s waste, the Plastic Pollution Prevention and Packaging Producer Responsibility Act (SB 54, Allen, Chapter 75, Statutes of 2022) imposes the strictest requirements on producers to reduce disposable plastic packaging and food ware, and increase recycling.

By 2032, the law mandates that industry must:

• Reduce single-use plastic packaging and food ware sales in the state by 25%.

• Ensure all single-use packaging and plastic food ware is recyclable or compostable.

• Recycle 65% of single-use plastic packaging and food ware.

The law also establishes a fund that industry members will contribute $5 billion towards, which the state will use to address plastic pollution in communities most affected by it. The rulemaking process for CalRecycle has begun, allowing for public comments on the SB 54 rules for a minimum of 45 days. A public hearing will also be held for feedback on the draft regulations.

Retailer cooperatives recycling sites

To encourage business innovation and make recycling more accessible, SB 1013 (Atkins, Chapter 610, Statutes of 2022) allows beverage retailers in areas without recycling centers to choose between in-store redemption or joining a cooperative recycling program. Retailers no longer have the option to pay a $100 daily fee instead of redeeming.

The law and draft regulations released today will increase the number of recycling sites in the state, offering new redemption options such as mobile recycling centers, reverse vending machines, and recycling drop-off stations. Public comments on the draft rules can be submitted after they are published by the Office of Administrative Law.

Stay updated on SB 1013 implementation by joining CalRecycle’s Beverage Container Recycling Center Listserv.

For updates on the implementation process of SB 54, join CalRecycle’s SB 54 Listserv.

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