Gonzalez Bill to Ensure California’s Plastic Exports Are Recycled Passes Senate Committee

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SACRAMENTO – (Monday, June 28, 2021) – California is often seen as a leader in recycling, but a loophole in state law allows exported plastics to count as recycled even when they are shipped to another country to be burned or dumped in a landfill. Today, California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez’s (D-San Diego) Assembly Bill 881 to ensure only recycled plastics count toward California’s recycling goals was approved unanimously by the Senate Environmental Quality Committee. 
 
“Sending our single-use plastics to other countries and calling it ‘recycled’ is causing lasting harm to our planet,” Assemblywoman Gonzalez (D-San Diego) said. “This bill ensures we’re being honest about how our plastics are being disposed of and what actually happens to our waste.”
 
California is one of the top exporters of plastic waste in the United States, according to U.S. Census data. Plastics exported to foreign countries often end up inadequately disposed of by incineration or dumping, leading to further harm of the environment and health of communities living nearby.
 
California has a yearly goal for 75% of waste to be diverted from landfills through source reduction, recycling, and composting. AB 881 would make California’s waste management practices more transparent by reclassifying the export of mixed plastic waste as disposal, while allowing only truly recyclable plastic to continue to count toward statewide recycling goals.
 
For questions or to schedule an interview with Assemblywoman Gonzalez, contact Mike Blount: Mike.Blount@asm.ca.gov