California closes another banner year for waste and recycling legislation with numerous bills

California closes another banner year for waste and recycling legislation with numerous bills
California closes another banner year for waste and recycling legislation with numerous bills

California just wrapped up a busy legislative season on Aug. 31 by passing one of the highest numbers of trash and recycling bills in recent memory, experts say.

His highest profile the outcome of that session was Governor Gavin Newsom signature SB 54 comes into effect in June, which establishes an EPR program for paper and packaging. Proponents consider it an important bill because it will also require many reductions and eliminations of single-use plastic packaging, promote reuse or refill systems and set additional plastic recycling rates.

The Legislature also passed bills to expand the state’s container buy-back system, enact new recycled content standards, update state purchasing requirements and change appropriations. diversion for waste-to-energy facilities. Those bills are being directed to Governor Gavin Newsom’s office at press time. A high-profile victim was AB 2026, a bill that aimed to reduce single-use plastics in e-commerce, which failed to make it out of committee.

“The array of bills passed by the Legislature last week shows that California is committed to using every tool in our toolbox when it comes to tackling the complex issues of reducing waste,” said Nick Lapis, advocacy director for Californians Against Waste. , which has supported several bills that have reached the finish line this year.

Heidi Sanborn, executive director of the National Stewardship Action Council, another group heavily involved in the bill process, said the collaboration that helped pass SB 54 may also have led to successes in passage. of the state’s other recycling and waste bills this year. In 2022, state lawmakers spent a “remarkable” time talking with environmental organizations, local governments and waste industry representatives, and visiting other states that have passed REPrecycled content and other waste bills, she said.

Here’s a look at some of the major waste and recycling bills passed in California this year:

Bill number Strong points Invoice status
CS54 Creates an EPR program for printed paper and plastic packaging and sets recycling rates and reductions for plastics Signed by Governor
SB 1013 Expands container buyback program to include wine and distilled spirits Past
CS38 Exempts certain manufacturers involved in the container buyback program from new State recycled content requirements Past
AB 1857 Repeals the provision of the law that allows jurisdictions to count up to 10% of waste sent to waste-to-energy facilities as part of their 50% diversion requirement


AB 2440 Establishes an extended producer responsibility program for most batteries


SB 1215 Adds in-battery products to state e-waste program Past

BA 661

Updates State Agency’s Buy Recycled Materials Campaign with New Recycled Content Standards for Materials Purchased by the State of California


AB 2784 Specifies recycled content standards for thermoformed plastic food containers Past
SB 1046 Ban plastic food bags Past

California advances bottle bill updates

California passed a significant update to its bottle bill this year. SB 1013 will include wine and distilled spirits in the state’s container deposit system. Led by State Senator Toni Atkins, the bill will establish a 10-cent redemption value on most of these bottles on Jan. 1, 2024. It also establishes a 25-cent refund on “hard to recycle” wine sold. in boxes, bladders and pouches.

The bill has received broad support from major carriers like Recology, Republic Services and WM, as well as environmental groups. However, last-minute amendments divided some former supporters who said the updates created too many additional costs. The changes included a provision that adds a market development payment to manufacturers of glass beverage containers and creates several grant programs for transforming glass, increasing glass recycling and improving transportation.

Consumer Watchdog and the Container Recycling Institute both expressed concerns about the spending of the bill, while Californians Against Waste, a notable supporter, said the bill as passed will “substantially increase” container recycling and improve the financial position of recycling centers.

Other changes to the state bottle bill include the passage of CS38, which prohibits processors from paying cash to certified recycling centers, curbside recycling programs and other bottle bill collection programs to prevent fraud. It also asks CalRecycle to study and develop a proposal to reduce contamination in recycled glass, which the agency says is a major issue for improving the quality of all recyclable materials.

A previous version of the bill would also have exempted some small manufacturers from the container buyback program from the new state policy. minimum content standard for fix language in the law that may have inadvertently exempted all beverage manufacturers because terms were set based on processing fees, which fluctuate with scrap values. This language was got out of SB 38 after a separate budget bill addressed the issue.

Jurisdictions will not be able to count waste-to-energy as diversion

Another major bill update could impact California two remaining incinerators. Covanta owns and operates the Stanislas county facility and it operates a public property settling in Long Beach.

Invoice AB 1857 repeals a portion of state law allowing jurisdictions to count up to 10% of waste sent to “processing” facilities toward a 50% diversion requirement. He also asks CalRecycle to create a Zero-Waste Equity grant program to prioritize projects that reduce reliance on incineration.

Covanta and several municipal groups oppose the billclaiming it would force waste destined for incinerators to landfill, contributing to methane emissions, and could impact operations at the Long Beach facility, which is said to produce about 200,000 megawatt hours of electricity annually.

Still supporters like local environmental groups and zero waste, the bill will reduce the health impacts of incinerators on gated communities and begin to address environmental racism in the state. Member of the Assembly Cristina Garcia, Bill’s sponsor, represents an area near the Long Beach facility. The the invoice asks putting communities first most affected by processing activity when awarding grants and prohibits grants that would support projects focused on waste disposal.

Other notable waste and recycling bills:

  • Battery recycling improvements: Of them battery recycling bills aim to facilitate the deposit of batteries and to reduce fires in collection vehicles and in waste collection centers and recycling centres. AB 2440establishes an EPR program for most batteries, while SB 1215 adds in-battery products to the state’s e-waste program, meaning consumers will start paying disposal fees when they purchase such products in 2026 and beyond.
  • Updates to recycled content standards: BA 661 updates the state agency’s Buy Recycled Products campaign beginning in 2026 to require state agencies to purchase recycled products instead of non-recycled products, when alternatives are available at full cost up to 10% higher. Meanwhile, AB 2784 defines recycled content standards for thermoformed food containers ranging from 10% in 2025 to 30% in 2030, depending on the recycling rate of the material.
  • Prohibition of plastic product bags: SB 1046 will ban most stores from offering “precheckout” bags for produce and other items, unless the bag is compostable or made from recycled paper from 2025. This builds on the current bag ban plastic in California.
  • Other interest bills: The state is set to ban single-use propane cylinders because of the dangers they cause in recycling facilities, adopt new rules for labels on the cannabis vape pen packaging to prevent the items from being disposed of improperly, and phase out fluorescent lamps containing mercury due to concerns about household and waste processor exposure.

. California fence one another year record for legislation on the waste recycling with many projects law

. California closes banner year waste recycling legislation numerous bills

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