Plastics: California’s pollution abatement funded by industry

California on Thursday adopted a law aimed at dramatically reducing non-recyclable plastic packaging and expanded polystyrene within ten years. It is the industry’s responsibility to implement and finance this legislation.

A text adopted this week by elected officials in California and endorsed by Gov. Gavin Newsom would require at least 30% of plastic packaging sold or used in California to be recycled by 2028, down from at least 65% in January. 1, 2032. Incineration or conversion of this waste to fuel is not an accepted form of ‘recycling’.

The law also tackles contamination from expanded polystyrene food packaging, which is often used in take-out restaurants for cups or meals in the United States. Unless producers can demonstrate that at least 25% of this packaging is recyclable by 2025, it can no longer be used in the state.

Salt fines

For environmentalists, achieving this goal is impossible, making it the ‘de facto ban’ on polystyrene food packaging. Environmental NGO The Nature Conservancy hailed it as “the most ambitious legislation in the country to reduce plastic waste”.

In California, a wealthy state that wants to be a leader in environmental protection, about 85% of plastic waste goes out of recycling and ends up in landfills. In 2021, the rate will be just 5% for the entire US.

The new California law not only lays down rules for recycling, but also makes manufacturers directly responsible for implementing and funding these activities.

“Reducing plastic pollution at source will simultaneously reduce emissions to air and water and reduce plastic dumped in our oceans,” NGO Oceana wrote on Twitter.

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Companies or ‘companies’ who do not comply with this law will be fined up to $50,000 per day.


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