California fails to pass plastic pollution reduction bill

16 September 2019 (Last Updated September 16th, 2019 14:58)

Aimed at reducing single-use plastics and foodware waste, the Plastic Pollution Reduction Act of California has failed to pass the state's legislature.

California fails to pass plastic pollution reduction bill
The bill would have assisted the state in removing single-use packaging and foodware by 75% by 2030. Credit: Bo Eide.

Aimed at reducing single-use plastics and foodware waste, the Plastic Pollution Reduction Act of California has failed to pass the state’s legislature.

If approved, the bill would have supported California in reducing single-use packaging and foodware by 75% by 2030.

The bill would have required manufacturers to reduce unnecessary packaging waste during production, make all packaging and single-use foodware recyclable or compostable, and recycle their products at a 75% rate over the same time period.

Environment America conservation senior director Steve Blackledge said: “From turtles with plastic straws stuck in their noses to whales with bellies full of plastic bags washing up on our beaches, you don’t need to look very hard to see an enormous plastic pollution problem.

“Today’s result is disappointing, but we’re encouraged that several states did take action this year to address plastic pollution. We’ll keep pushing for legislation that prioritises the wellbeing of our wildlife over the convenience of single-use plastics.”

The US Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) and Environment America conducted a door-to-door campaign in 23 states this summer in an effort to gain public support for laws to curb plastic pollution.

Last year, 13 states imposed a ban on single-use plastics. Seven out of 13 states, including Maryland, Oregon and Connecticut, passed them into law.

US PIRG Zero Waste Programme director Alex Truelove said: “We have to move our society beyond single-use plastics as quickly as possible.

“If we can figure out how to make a plastic spoon out of petroleum, surely we can figure out how to reuse that plastic instead of throwing it away. We’ll keep working in the states to create the right rules and incentives to reduce waste.”

In August, California’s Consumer Watchdog urged Governor Gavin Newsom to prioritise recycling reform in the coming months.