Summary of Plastic Recycling Ballot Measure

Chris Micheli
Chris Micheli is a Principal with the Sacramento governmental relations firm of Aprea & Micheli, Inc.

(Editor’s note: Chris Micheli provides an analysis of the recycling initiative filed Monday.)

CALIFORNIA RECYCLING AND PLASTIC POLLUTION REDUCTION ACT OF 2020

Filed November 4, 2019

SEC.1. Title

This measure shall be known and may be cited as the “California Recycling and Plastic Pollution Reduction Act of 2020.”

SEC.2. Findings and Declarations

The People of the State of California makes numerous findings and declarations

SEC.3. Purpose and Intent

The People of the State of California intend to reduce plastic production and pollution and its impacts on the state’s ocean, coastal and freshwater environments.

SEC. 4.

The following definitions are provided: “California Plastic Pollution Reduction Fee”; “Expanded polystyrene food service container”; “Food vendor”; “Packaging”; “Priority single-use products”; “Producer”; and, “Single-use packaging”.

CalRecycle shall consult with CalEPA, Natural Resources and OPC to adopt regulations to required manufacturers, distributors, and retailers of products and packaging sold, or offered for sale, in the State of California to:

  • (1) Require product packaging and priority single-use products to be reusable, recyclable, or compostable by 2030.
  • (2) Reduce packaging that CalRecycle determines to be unnecessary for the delivery of a product or food item.
  • (3) Where CalRecycle determines alternatives exist, minimize or eliminate the use of virgin, fossil-fueled derived plastic in the production of products that are routinely disposed of after a single use.
  • (4) Maximize, where CalRecycle deems appropriate, the use of recycled content in the production of products and packaging.
  • (5) Establish mechanisms for convenient consumer access to recycling, including but not limited to retailer takeback programs and deposits.
  • (6) Include labeling and marketing requirements to support the proper sorting of discarded materials at the end of their useful lives.
  • (7) Prohibit the distribution of an expanded polystyrene food service container by a food vendor.
  • (8) Require producers to source reduce, by weight and number, single-use plastic packaging and priority single-use plastic products to the maximum extent possible.

CalRecycle shall ensure, by the year 2023, the amount of California-generated waste that is disposed or enters the environment shall be reduced by 20% compared to 2020 levels

By the year 2025, the amount of California-generated waste that is disposed or enters the environment shall be reduced by 40 percent compared to 2020 levels.

By the year 2030, the amount of California-generated waste that is disposed or enters the environment shall be reduced by 80 percent compared to 2020 levels.

Manufacturers, distributors, and retailers of products sold, or offered for sale, in the State of California, shall submit data that CalRecycle deems appropriate.

If CalRecycle determines at any point that a product or package cannot comply due to health and safety reasons, because it is unsafe to recycle, or presents unique challenges and has no alternatives, CalRecycle may exempt that packaging or product from this law.

CalRecycle shall establish by January 1, 2022, and a producer shall pay, a California Plastic Pollution Reduction Fee, as determined by CalRecycle, not to exceed one cent ($0.01) per plastic product or component of packaging, including plastic-coated paper and paperboard.

A producer shall remit the fee assessed pursuant to this subdivision to CalRecycle for deposit into the California Plastic Pollution Reduction Fund.

The amount of the California Plastic Pollution Reduction Fee shall be paid by the manufacturer, distributor, or retailer of a product or packaging type and shall not be passed on to consumers as a separate item on a receipt or invoice.

By regulation, CalRecycle shall establish administrative penalties for non-compliance.

Annual General Fund appropriations to the Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Wildlife Conservation Board, the State Coastal Conservancy, the Ocean Protection Council, and California State Parks for these purposes shall not be reduced below the levels provided in the Budget Act of 2019.

CalRecycle shall not expend more than 5 percent of the revenue from the California Plastic Pollution Reduction Fee on administrative costs.

SEC.5. Effective Date.

This Act shall take effect upon approval by the voters.

SEC. 6. Severability.

The provisions of this Act are severable. An adverse court decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of this Act.

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