On Wednesday, May 8th, RCRC submitted comments and suggested changes to CalRecycle’s proposed SB 54 single-use packaging regulations.   

Under SB 54 (Allen) of 2022, all local jurisdictions must include those covered materials CalRecycle determines to be recyclable or compostable in their collection and recycling/composting programs, unless they receive an exemption or extension from CalRecycle.  Pursuant to SB 54, CalRecycle was required to determine what categories of covered materials are recyclable and compostable – that list is found here.  Importantly, those 19 counties with fewer than 70,000 residents (and cities within those counties) may exempt themselves from this requirement. Locals are not precluded from collecting additional materials not included on that list.   SB 54 is transformative in that it requires manufacturers of single use packaging to ensure their products are recyclable or compostable, create and fund end markets, and reimburse local jurisdictions and recycling service providers for the cost of collection, storage, handling, and marketing for those products. 

In general, RCRC strongly urged CalRecycle to: 

  • Make changes to reduce the cost and complexity of program implementation, 

  • Clarify that local jurisdictions are not required to start collecting covered materials until the producer responsibility organization’s (PRO) stewardship plan has been approved by CalRecycle, 

  • Recognize that the Legislature did not intend for local jurisdictions to be subject to enforcement under SB 54,  

  • Modify and refine the structure and process through which local jurisdictions can seek exemptions from the law, and  

  • Develop protocols to ensure that the PRO achieves the stated legislative intent of making local jurisdictions financially whole for the costs of implementing the law. 

CalRecycle’s notice can be found here, the proposed regulatory text can be found here, and the Initial Statement of Reasons can be found here.  RCRC’s comments on the proposed regulations can be found here.   

CalRecycle will consider stakeholder comments and issue a revised draft regulation for additional comment later this year.

For more information, contact RCRC Senior Policy Advocate, John Kennedy.