Gonzalez Bill to Ensure California Plastics Are Truly Recycled Passes Senate Appropriations Committee

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO – (Thursday, July 15, 2021) – Many Californians don’t know that when they put plastics into a blue recycling bin, it might not actually be recycled –– a large percentage is shipped overseas where it actually can end up burned, dumped, or landfilled. Today, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved Assembly Bill 881 by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) to ensure only recycled plastics count toward California’s recycling goals.
 
“Dumping our plastic waste onto other countries isn’t helping us fight our massive plastic pollution crisis – it’s only causing more harm to the planet,” Assemblywoman Gonzalez (D-San Diego) said. “AB 881 ensures we’re really being honest with ourselves about what’s actually happening with our state’s plastic waste.” 
 
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. A 2019 study by environmental group GAIA revealed these countries and their people will likely shoulder the economic, social and environmental costs of this pollution, possibly for generations to come.

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. The state 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