Confused about plastic recycling? I am. Do yogurt containers go in the blue bin? They should; they have the “chasing arrows” recyclable symbol on them. Does bubble wrap? How about the plastic “clamshells” that contain berries?
Answer: “none of the above.” The infuriating truth is that less than 9% of all plastic gets recycled. The rest goes to landfills or overseas where it breaks into micro-plastics that end up in food, drinking water, air, and our bodies.
These unseen particles are made of oil, fracked gas, and thousands of deadly chemicals. The average American ingests about a credit card’s worth of toxic plastic weekly.
To address this problem, a package of 12 bills (Circular Economy Bill Package) has been introduced in the California Legislature.
One (SB 54) requires producers to take responsibility for waste by shifting from disposables to reusables where possible. SB 343 will prohibit the use of the word “recyclable” on products that are not, thereby reducing consumer confusion (yes, corporations sometimes lie; shocking, isn’t it?). AB 962 will allow returnable bottles to be reused through the state’s Beverage Container Recycling Program.
Another bill in the package would not allow exported mixed plastic waste to be called recycled even when it is landfilled, burned, dumped, or otherwise harmfully managed. This would ensure that recycling truly means recycled into new products.
The deadline to pass bills out of their house of origin is June 4. Please contact your legislators today and tell them, “I live in your district and I am following this package of legislation closely.”