On July 19, the California Secretary of State certified the California Recycling and Plastic Pollution Reduction Act, which will now appear on the November 2022 ballot. The measure is intended to reduce plastic pollution and litter in the terrestrial and marine environments. It is also intended to improve the recyclability and increase the recycling of plastic products and packaging and to fund a broad array of recycling, litter abatement, and environmental restoration programs.
Under the initiative, CalRecycle must adopt regulations:
- Requiring manufacturers to ensure that single-use packaging and food-ware is reusable, refillable, recyclable, or compostable by 2030.
- Restricting or prohibiting packaging and food ware it determines is unnecessary for delivery of the product or food.
- Requiring manufacturers to reduce the number of packaging and food ware items sold into the state.
- Establishing mechanisms for convenient consumer access to recycling, including take-back and deposit programs.
- Prohibiting use of expanded polystyrene food containers by food vendors.
To accomplish these objectives, the initiative seeks to require manufacturers to pay a fee of up to $0.01 per item of single-use food ware of packaging sold into the state. Anticipated revenues in the billions of dollars annually would be allocated as follows:
- 20% (upon appropriation by the Legislature) to local governments for groundwater and drinking water protection, litter cleanup and abatement, and local recycling and composting programs.
- 50% (continuously appropriated) to CalRecycle for program implementation and enforcement and to support statewide solid waste reduction, recycling, and composting efforts and related infrastructure, including creation of incentives to maintain and increase infrastructure for organic waste composting.
- 30% (continuously appropriated) to state and local agencies to mitigate the impacts of plastic pollution and protect and restore wildlife and the environment.
Major supporters of the California Recycling and Plastic Pollution Reduction Act include Californians Against Waste, the National Stewardship Action Council, Clean Seas Lobbying Coalition, and Recology.