Governor Signs Gonzalez Bill Correcting California’s Deceptive Recycling Practice

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO – (October 5, 2021) – Today, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 881 by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) into law, closing a loophole in California law that allowed exported mixed plastic waste shipped overseas to be counted toward our state’s recycling goals – even when it was never recycled.

“This law will force us to be honest and transparent about what actually happens to our plastic waste that’s often just sent to a landfill overseas to become someone else’s problem,” Assemblywoman Gonzalez (D-San Diego) said. “With AB 881, California is better equipped to measure the true progress we’re making towards our recycling goals and tackling the plastic pollution crisis.”

California is one of the top exporters of plastic waste in the United States, according to U.S. Census data. That plastic waste often ends of being improperly disposed of by incineration or dumping once it lands overseas, negatively impacting the economic prosperity and health of people living near these waste sites

California has a yearly goal for 75% of waste to be diverted from landfills through source reduction, recycling, and composting. AB 881 will ensure California’s waste management practices are 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.

AB 881 will take effect January 1, 2022. 

For questions or to schedule an interview with Assemblywoman Gonzalez, contact Mike Blount: