California governor Gavin Newsom has signed a raft of new state laws tightening up the rules on waste recycling, strengthening policies it adopted in 2019. (That year it stopped hotels from giving out small plastic bottles for amenities, created a state recycling commission, and extended a recycling loan program till 2031).
Some highlights from Megan Quinn’s article in Waste Dive.
- Plastic can’t be labeled as recyclable unless it is “collected in at least 60% of the state’s curbside programs and sorted into specific streams at facilities that meet international Basel Convention standards.”
- If plastic waste is exported it cannot be called recycled, just “disposal.”
- Plastic can’t be “compostable” unless it has “certification from the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI)” or other third party approved by CalRecycle (the state’s recycling and waste agency).
- “Refillable glass bottles” can be part of the state’s “container redemption program” if they go to an approved washer. The container redemption program charges consumers 5 cents or 10 cents a bottle; they can get their money back by taking the bottle to a recycling center.
- California already requires restaurants to supply plastic straws on a “request-only” basis. It has now expanded that law to include plastic utensils.
California didn’t stop there. It called on President Joe Biden to ratify the Basel Convention on transportation of hazardous waste.