Assembly Passes Lorena Gonzalez Bill to Cut Single-Use Packaging and Plastic

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AB 1080 would phase out top trash items through source reduction and improved recycling

SACRAMENTO – (Wed., May 30 , 2019) – Amid growing awareness of worldwide environmental devastation and health problems wrought by plastic and non-recycled trash, the California State Assembly has approved first-of-its-kind legislation by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego)to dramatically reduce plastic and packaging waste and jumpstart the in-state clean recycling economy.

Assembly Bill 1080 attacks the trash crisis both before a product is ever created or purchased, and after a single-use item is ready for disposal. The measure helps businesses transition from single-use plastic to reusable or compostable packaging with reasonable timelines to make changes in order to achieve an overall reduction of 75 percent by the year 2030.

“Unless we take bold action, our local governments will continue to spend millions of dollars on single-use plastic waste clean-up and recycling while our constituents and the environment suffer from the negative effects,” Assemblywoman Gonzalez said.

AB 1080, which was approved in the Assembly 42-15 and now heads to the California State Senate, measure also calls for incentives for in-state manufacturing using recycled materials. 

These requirements will cut back on the amount and type of trash going into landfills and litter in neighborhoods, waterways, and the ocean, which will reduce costs to taxpayers for disposal and clean-up.

Currently, California waste and recycling industries are struggling to adapt to China’s 2017 “National Sword” policy to stop accepting other nations’ trash. This has resulted in garbage and recyclables piling up at local waste facilities, going into landfills, or being shipped to other countries in Asia that cannot process the sheer amount of trash coming to them. California’s local governments -- and, therefore, ratepayers -- are experiencing increased costs as a result.

AB 1080’s 75 percent recycling rate will not only help reduce California’s need to ship meaningful quantities of waste out-of-state, it is expected to double the existing 125,000 California jobs in recycling and manufacturing.

The measure is supported by a broad coalition of environmental organizations, health advocates, green businesses, local governments, and labor. The identical companion measure, Senate Bill 54 (Allen) passed the Senate on Wednesday and now heads to the Assembly.