US state California has initiated the formal rulemaking process for a law aimed at significantly reducing single-use plastic and packaging waste in the region.  

The state released its draft regulations for the measure on 8 March 2024. 

The measures are part of the Plastic Pollution Prevention and Packaging Producer Responsibility Act, signed by state governor Gavin Newsom in 2022. 

This legislation mandates producers to decrease single-use plastic waste and ensure that their product packaging is either recyclable or compostable. 

The regulation, which will be achieved through an extended producer responsibility (EPR) programme, also requires recycling 65% of single-use plastic packaging and foodware by 2032.

The legislation also establishes a fund expected to raise $5bn from industry contributions, which will be used by the state to combat plastic pollution, particularly in its most affected communities. 

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Newsom said: “For too long, plastic polluters have passed the buck on the growing burden of plastic waste contaminating the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat. 

“California is leading the way to hold producers responsible, drive sustainable innovation and green jobs, and support the most impacted communities. We have to act now, with urgency, to give our kids a future without plastic pollution.” 

The government expects the changes to create thousands of jobs within the state. 

Via the California Jobs First Council, the state will promote workforce development in the circular economy and other similar sectors, preparing students and workers for high-paying careers.