June 29, 2022
Many of California’s leading environmental organizations are calling on the Legislature and Governor Newsom to pass Senate Bill 54 this week.
Working with Assembly Natural Resources committee chair Assemblywoman Luz Rivas (D-San Fernando Valley), lead author Senator Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica) amended Senate Bill 54 on Friday night to strengthen environmental protections, increase CalRecycle’s authority, and make important clarifications.
Senate Bill 54 includes the following provisions, which, if enacted, would make California the first state in the nation to:
- Require producers to reduce single-use plastic packaging and foodware by 25%, by both weight and unit, by 2032
- Require producers and plastics resin manufacturers to pay $500 million a year for ten years ($5 billion total), starting in 2027 in environmental mitigation funds to address harms to disadvantaged, low-income, and rural communities, as well as recover, restore, and protect the natural environment
- Require producers to reduce at least 10% of their total single-use plastic packaging and foodware by eliminating it from the market without replacing it with another material, 4% must be eliminated through the use of reuse and refill systems
- Require that any implementing regulations, infrastructure, or investments avoid causing disproportionate harm to disadvantaged, low-income, and rural communities
SB 54 also requires that packaging producers (of all materials) take financial responsibility for the full lifecycle of their products through extended producer responsibility, with strong oversight and enforcement by CalRecycle; requires that all single-use plastic packaging and foodware actually be recyclable or compostable by 2032; requires that all plastic packaging meet a 65% recycling rate by 2032 (made possible through producer investments in recycling infrastructure) defines recycling as maintaining materials in the circular economy, and excluding incineration, combustion, or other plastics to fuel technologies (meaning pyrolysis and gasification) to meet required recycling rates; prohibits investments in harmful, non-circular technologies; and bans expanded polystyrene foodware by January 1, 2025 unless industry is able to demonstrate a 25% recycling rate for the prior year as determined by CalRecycle.
- “Our world is drowning in plastic and we no longer have the luxury to wait. We are calling on the Legislature and Governor to take meaningful and comprehensive action this week to tackle plastic pollution. Because of our tireless efforts and collective action of our environmental colleagues, the environmental justice community, and the leadership of Senator Ben Allen, Assemblywoman Luz Rivas, and their staff, we are on the precipice of adopting an even stronger version of SB 54 that protects our ecosystems and communities across the state, but also forces the plastics industry to acknowledge and pay for the harm done to both.” – Dr. Alexis Jackson, Associate Director of The Nature Conservancy’s California Oceans Program
- “Plastic pollution is increasing and it’s everywhere, from the ocean’s surface to the deep seafloor, even in a marine sanctuary like Monterey Bay. It harms our marine life, pollutes our communities, and contributes to climate change. Monterey Bay Aquarium calls on the legislature and Governor Newsom to act this week on SB 54. We are very grateful to Senator Ben Allen, Assembly Natural Resources Chair Luz Rivas, their staff, and those who pressed for further environmental protections that made this bill even stronger. This precedent-setting bill will reduce the amount of plastic packaging in the marketplace and hold companies accountable for the waste they produce.” – Amy Wolfrum, California Ocean Policy Senior Manager, Monterey Bay Aquarium
- “The California legislature now has the opportunity to reduce single-use plastic and protect our oceans, communities, and climate — there is no more time to waste. If passed, SB 54 would be the boldest plastic reduction policy in the nation, requiring plastic producers to slash their single-use plastic packaging and foodware by 25%, and would solidify California’s role as a leader in the fight against plastic pollution. Oceana thanks Senator Ben Allen and Assemblymember Luz Rivas for their leadership, as well as the environmental and community organizations who have worked tirelessly to strengthen the bill. Californians want change — a recent Oceana poll found that 86% of California voters support local and state policies that reduce single-use plastic. It’s time for state lawmakers to heed their call. We urge the state legislature to pass SB 54 and the governor to sign the bill into law this week.” – Christy Leavitt, Oceana’s plastics campaign director
- “We are grateful to Senator Ben Allen and Assemblymember Luz Rivas and all their staff for getting this bill to where it is. SB 54 is the most ambitious legislation in the U.S. to address the plastic pollution crisis, and will fundamentally decrease our dependence on single-use plastics. It will result in less plastics on our shelves, on our beaches, and in our ocean. The ripple effects of California – the U.S.’s most populous state and the fifth largest economy in the world – implementing such bold and necessary changes cannot be overstated. Ocean Conservancy urges the California legislature and Governor to make history this week by signing SB 54 into law. We cannot wait to see the positive impacts this legislation will have on our ocean and the wildlife and communities that depend on it.” – Dr. Anja Brandon, U.S. Plastics Policy Analyst, Ocean Conservancy
- "Too often, we use plastic wrapping and containers for just a few minutes and then toss them into the trash. This plastic builds up in our environment, polluting our land and water for hundreds of years. With millions of pieces of plastic floating in our rivers and ocean, it’s easy for birds, fish and sea turtles to mistake a small piece of plastic for food—with life-threatening consequences. By passing Senator Allen’s updated plastics legislation this week, the California legislature can lead the country in keeping plastic waste out of the landfill and truly prioritize wildlife over waste.” – Environment California State Director Laura Deehan
- “Public outcry is growing about how much unnecessary and unacceptable single-use plastic items end up littering our communities and environment. This plastic doesn’t disappear. It breaks into microplastics that now contaminate every corner of the globe --- even the human body. Thankfully, California once again has an opportunity to be a leader in tackling this global plastic waste crisis. If made into law, Senate Bill 54 would dramatically reduce the amount of waste that ends up contaminating our environment by mandating significant reductions in single-use foodware and packaging and requiring single-use items to actually be recyclable or compostable. We thank Senator Allen and Assemblymember Rivas for their leadership on this issue and urge the state legislature to pass SB 54 to finally start holding producers responsible for the plastic waste harming our communities.” – Jenn Engstrom, CALPIRG State Director
- “SB 54 finally puts California on the path to achieve a truly circular economy starting with source reduction first. We are checking all three boxes of a circular economy as defined by the Ellen McArthur Foundation – 1) reduce waste and pollution, 2) keep materials in motion (recycle and compost), and 3) regenerate natural systems.” – Heidi Sanborn, Executive Director, National Stewardship Action Council
Contact: Kevin Liao, firstname.lastname@example.org