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California legislators reject disposable plastic bill



California lawmakers resigned early Saturday without acting on bills that would have made their state the first to partially phase out single-use containers, with supporters unable to overcome lobbying by industry opponents.

Two bills, Senate Bill 54 and Companion Laws Assembly Bill 1080, sought to eliminate 75% of disposable containers by 2030, reduce emissible plastic emissions nationwide, and lay the foundations for a refurbished recycling industry in California.

Prior to the passing of the law insurance, advocates hoped California could create a template to reduce waste, including plastic bottles and containers that end up in waterways and oceans.

"We want to show that we can build a model that we can really scale around the rest of the world," Sen. Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica), author of SB 54. "We must also show the rest of the world that they can and should do something about it."

The bills came in response to China's decision to become more selective in the scrap it receives from the United States, which has created a huge amount of aggregate plastic and mixed paper, which is depressing the market for many items. With little revenue, many local and state authorities simply end their recycling programs and chose to dump previously recyclable items on landfills.

The bills zeroed in on plastics, an industry that has prevented recycling standards that other manufacturers, such as glass and cardboard, must meet.

According to the bills, the United States alone throws 30 million tons of plastic each year, and global plastic production has reached an annual figure of 335 million ̵

1; a number that is expected to more than triple by 2050.

Lawyers hoped the legislation would propose a recycling industry that, at its peak, only recycled a fraction of the collected materials.

“We are only going to see more and more reports on plastics and microplastics invading the environment. , "Said Emily Rusch, CEO of CALPIRG. "We want to make sure California is a leader and create a path the rest of the country can follow."

Allen, who introduced SB 54, and Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), author of AB 1080, sought to curb the production of virgin plastics and other non-recyclable goods. Some industry groups opposed the emphasis on production, argued for exceptions and settled requirements.

Lawmakers and advocates of the Bills said they tried to work with all sides while developing waste reduction targets.

"We have proven to be dealers of good faith," Sen said. Allen.

Opposition letters filed early this week came from grocery manufacturers Assn., Waste management industries such as Athens Services and California Refuse Recycling Council, and members of agriculture and

Some were concerned about the authority given to CalRecycle, the entity responsible for oversee compliance, and lack of detail on how the bill would be administered.

"We are opposed because we believe there are some fundamental deficiencies in the bill that will prevent it from being implemented," said Shannon Crawford, Executive Director of State Government Plastics Industry Assn.

In recent days, the authors of The bill negotiated changes that received support from California Grocers Assn. and Dow Chemical, and changed attitudes toward major players such as the American Chemistry Council, Proctor & Gamble and Walmart, who dropped their opposition.

Followers were frustrated that they could not secure voices when the legislative session ended.

"I have a personal stake in it because I'm a dad and I have a family that's going to have to live on this planet," said Mark Murray, CEO of Californians Against Waste , a nonprofit environmental protection organization that helped prepare the bills.

"It's sad that our natural environment is overlooked washed by plastic particles that make their way into our water and food. It is an embarrassment for our generation. "

In the days leading up to the vote, environmentalists and advocates of their laws tweeted and supported a hashtag #CAMustLead . Celebrities such as Alicia Silverstone and Jeff Bridges encouraged California residents to contact their representatives.

"Californians are frustrated and concerned about the environment, public health and financial consequences of disposable plastic waste," said Geoff Shester, California campaign director and senior scientist at Oceana. "Action is not an option. We simply have to double our efforts to get good legislation passed next year. ”

Lawmakers passed two recycling bills, AB 54 and SB 792, introduced by Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), aimed at supporting stagnant recycling markets and reducing the permitted amount of virgin plastic in beverage containers to 50% by 2030.

AB 54 will provide $ 5 million to fund a pilot mobile recycling project monitored According to the bill, five grants will be made available in areas heavily affected by the closure of RePlanet, the state's largest recycling center. One grant is earmarked for a rural area.

The bill will also stop the fines of grocers required to recycle beverage containers in areas where there are no recycling centers nearby.

"We have been trying to solve California's recycling problem for many years," Ting said. "AB 54 provides short-term relief as we work over the fall toward a more comprehensive solution that can begin to move through the law process when we are restored in January. "

SB 792 originally included a requirement that plastic bottles should be made of 100% recycled materials by 2035. It was amended to implement phased minimum levels, with a 10% requirement in 2021 and 50% coverage by 2030. [19659002] The bill gives CalRecycle the authority to adjust minimum requirements if market conditions prevent companies from reaching them, a compromise designed to facilitate the passage of the bill.

Both bills now go to the desk of Prime Minister Gavin Newsom, which has until October 13 to to sign or veto them.

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