On April 3, the Senate Environmental Quality Committee advanced several important measures, supported by RCRC, to reduce local costs and responsibilities for managing hazardous wastes. 

Senate Bill 1066 (Blakespear, D-Encinitas) requires manufacturers to create, fund, and implement a producer responsibility program for the end-of-life management of expired marine flares.  Flares are vital emergency devices required by the U.S. Coast Guard; however, those flares are extremely difficult and expensive to manage when they expire three to four years after the date of manufacture.  While flares can cost consumers from $13-$26 each, they generally cost local governments $46 or more per flare for disposal.  (See letter of support here.) 

Senate Bill 1143 (Allen, D-Santa Monica) takes a broader approach to require manufacturers of certain types of products that become household hazardous wastes at the end of their useful lives to participate in a producer responsibility program to provide a free and convenient collection and management system for those products.  Products addressed in SB 1143 include cleaners, adhesives, electronics, paints, lubricants, flammable materials, pool chemicals, universal wastes, and the like.  Under SB 1143, those manufacturers would have to reimburse local governments for the costs of managing those waste streams. (See letter of support here.) 

Senate Bill 1280 (Laird, D-Santa Cruz) requires small propane cylinders sold in the state to be reusable or refillable by January 1, 2028.  Small disposable propane cylinders are commonly sold and used in the state for a variety of purposes, including in many recreation-related activities that are important to rural economies. Unfortunately, small propane cylinders are very expensive for local governments to manage in the waste stream, and it is nearly impossible to know whether a cylinder is completely empty.  A small product redesign as contemplated in SB 1280 will substantially reduce the number of waste propane cylinders that local governments must manage in the waste stream, thereby reducing costs, administrative burdens, and safety risks for household hazardous waste programs. (See letter of support here.) 

RCRC strongly supports these three bills because local government household hazardous waste collection programs incur tremendous costs to properly manage and dispose of these items.  Bills like SB 1066 and SB 1143 require the manufacturers who introduce those goods into the stream of commerce to take charge of the collection, transportation, and management of those products, rather than shift those costs onto local governments and taxpayers.   

These measures now move to the Senate Appropriations Committee for consideration. For more information, contact RCRC Senior Policy Advocate John Kennedy