Single-Use Foodware Ordinances Sweeping Across California
In 2014, California became the first state to enact legislation imposing a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags at large retail stores. By 2020 over 120 local jurisdiction have expanded on the plastic ban to include polystyrene(styrofoam) bans. Many cities have taken it even further by requiring cafes and restaurants to charge 10 or more cents for disposable cups, have compostable to-go ware, and use reusable flatware and dishware for diners who eat in. Local ordinances are a great start, but a statewide ban would be better.
Last year environmental groups and Recology, an employee owned Bay Area waste hauler, proposed an initiative for the November 2020 statewide ballot that would require plastic manufacturers to dramatically reduce the amount of disposable products that end up in a landfill. The initiative, the California Recycling and Plastic Pollution Reduction Act of 2020, gives regulators the power to charge producers fees for selling single-use plastic packaging.
"The act also lets regulators require packaging be reusable, recyclable or compostable; ban certain “unnecessary” packaging and prohibit the use of virgin plastic; mandate recycled content; impose deposit systems and retailer take-back requirements; pass labeling and marketing requirements; and more" according to Resource Recycling. This version mimics the two waste-reduction bills that did not pass and was opposed by the plastics and petroleum industries.
We know that plastic pollution is a growing and serious environmental problem. Initiatives like these are putting the pressure on manufacturers and holding them accountable for plastic pollution so that the burden doesn’t fall heavily on the business owners and consumers. The plastic pollution fight will be up to us, voters.
Read more here.