A sweeping package of bills aimed at reducing plastic waste and improving recycling efforts, approved by the Legislature this month, are being celebrated by environmentalists and trash-reduction activists as they await final consideration by Gov. Gavin Newsom.
The six bills include a measure that would expand plastic straw restrictions to plastic utensils and condiment packages — and would apply not only to full-service restaurants but also take-out and fast food restaurants, which are currently exempted from the straw law.
Other legislation would provide new incentives for reusing glass beverage bottles, crack down on misleading recycling labeling, and reduce the export of plastics that end up in foreign landfills.
“It’s definitely a landmark year, both in terms of the number and scope of the bills that were passed, not to mention the level of interest among legislators,” said Nick Lapis of Californians Against Waste, a 44-year-old non-profit that advocates for more recycling as well as less single-use packaging and products.
“The plastics issue, especially, seems to be snowballing, which is great since the problem is also growing exponentially and major reform is needed.”
However, the most wide-reaching proposal, SB 54, was tabled for the third consecutive year in the face of opposition from the California Chamber of Commerce and a host of packaging and plastics interests. Those groups say the bill would unreasonably raise costs on businesses and consumers.
That proposal, by Sen. Ben Allen, D-Santa Monica, would require all single-use, …….