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By Jorge Casuso
February 21, 2019 -- Santa Monica remained at the forefront of the fight to ban plastics in California with a comprehensive bill introduced Thursday by State Sen. Ben Allen that would phase out the sale and distribution of single-use plastics by 2030.
SB 54, co-sponsored by Senators Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) and Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), "establishes a comprehensive framework to address the pollution and waste crisis," Allen's office said.
Under the bill, plastic single-use packaging and products sold or distributed in California must be reduced or recycled by 75 percent by 2030.
"Rather than continue to tinker around the edges with one-off bans of individual plastic items," Allen said, "we need a thoughtful, comprehensive solution to address this serious problem head-on.”
According to Allen's staff, less than 15 percent of single-use plastic in California is recycled, and "the cost of recycling exceeds the scrap value of the plastic material."
It costs an estimated $2 billion a year to clean up plastic pollution in the state, staff said.
The market for previously recyclable items is expected to shrink dramatically after China stopped accepting recyclable waste from foreign entities under its National Sword policy, according to Allen's office.
"Without this market, these materials now pile up in recycling centers or are sent to landfills or illegal incineration facilities in Southeast Asia," Allen's staff said.
Allen's bill creates incentives and policies to encourage in-state manufacturing using recycled material generated in California, Allen said.
“We can't keep ignoring the public health and pollution threat posed by mounting plastic waste,” he said. “Every day Californians generate tons of non-recyclable, non-compostable waste that clog landfills, rivers, and beaches.
"The waste is often eventually broken down into toxic chemicals -- some of them cancer-causing -- that find their way into our food and water systems," Allen said.
"The future of California’s quality of life is at stake."
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