California Proposes Statewide Plastic Ban

by Rudy Sanchez on 02/22/2019 | 2 Minute Read

California, with over 800 miles of coastline, is keenly aware of the impact single-use plastics have on our oceans. Recent storms have shown the impact of trash on Southern California coasts, dumping loads of refuse onto typically pristine beaches. With such visceral proof of the consequences of plastic litter, it’s little wonder that state legislators are being proactive and working towards limiting how much trash the state creates.

California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez and state senator Ben Allen have forwarded bills to phase out the sale and distribution of single-use plastics by 2030. Assembly Bill 1080 and Senate Bill 54 would establish a comprehensive framework to dramatically reduce the amount of single-use plastic generated in California while demanding that remaining packaging be 100% recyclable or compostable.

Under these bills single-use plastic packaging and products sold or distributed in California would have to be decreased or recycled by 75% by 2030, and they will incentivize the use of sustainable materials for manufacturers within the state.

“We have to stop treating our oceans and planet like a dumpster,” Assemblywoman Gonzalez said in a press release. “Any fifth grader can tell you that our addiction to single-use plastics is killing our ecosystems. We have technology and innovation to improve how we reduce and recycle plastic packaging and products in our state. Now, we have to find the political will to do so.”

“We can't keep ignoring the public health and pollution threat posed by mounting plastic waste,” Senator Ben Allen added in the same press release. “Everyday Californians generate tons of non-recyclable, non-compostable waste that clog landfills, rivers, and beaches. The waste is often eventually broken down into toxic chemicals—some of them cancer-causing—that find their way into our food and water systems. The future of California’s quality of life is at stake.”

These bills are also a response to China’s National Sword policy, which has considerably curtailed the amount of recyclable material China allows into their country, essentially wiping out the market for recyclable materials coming from the US and other countries.

Relying on other nations like China has shown to be an untenable fix to our addiction to single-use plastic, and measures to avoid single-use plastic in the first place provide a more sustainable, long term solution to reduce our impact on the environment. Given California’s clout when it comes to the US economy, they could kickstart a national push toward substantial change.

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