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Santa Monica Lawmaker's Bill to Curb Use of Plastics Clears Senate

Bob Kronovetrealty
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Santa Monica Convention and Visitors

By Jorge Casuso

May 31, 2019 -- The State Senate on Thursday passed a bill sponsored by Santa Monica Sen. Ben Allen that would phase out the sale and distribution of single-use plastics by 2030.

Co-sponsored by Senators Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) and Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), SB 54 will "set a course to significantly reduce the volume of single-use packaging sold in California, and the top 10 single-use plastic littered items," Allen's office said.

Under the bill, plastic single-use packaging and products sold or distributed in the state must be reduced or recycled by 75 percent by 2030.

The legislation comes in the wake of China's decision to stop accepting recyclable waste from foreign entities under its National Sword policy, dramatically shrinking the market for previously recyclable items.

"We have a waste and pollution crisis on our hands and the bottom has fallen out of our recycling market in the wake of China’s decision to no longer take our waste,” Allen said.

“This legislation provides a comprehensive plan to transition manufacturers and consumers toward more sustainable packaging and products," the Santa Monica lawmaker said.

Introduced in February, Allen's bill, along with a companion bill approved by the State Assembly Thursday, develops regulations that require manufacturers and retailers to design packaging that reduces unnecessary waste.

It also requires all single-use packaging to be reusable, recyclable or compostable after 2030, Allen's office said.

The bills also "identify the top ten most littered single-use plastic products and require these to be manufactured with only recyclable or compostable material," Allen's office said.

In addition, the bills develop incentives and policies to encourage in-state manufacturing using recycled material generated in California.

An estimated 17.6 billion pounds of plastic enters the ocean from land-based sources every year, according to Allen's office.

The estimated $420 million a year being spent by local governments and taxpayers to prevent the litter from reaching the ocean "cannot keep pace with the production of single-use disposable items," Allen said.

"The dire impacts of single-use plastic on our oceans, marine life, the broader environment and human health are too powerful to ignore," he said.

SB 54 -- which is supported by more than 100 cities, environmental organizations and solid waste industry companies -- now goes to the state Assembly for consideration.

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