Major California Legislation Focuses on Waste Reduction

California Stale Law makers passed sweeping legislation designed to reduce waste. Six years ago, California banned single-use checkout bags from grocery and retail stores. This new legislation includes bills that will eliminate plastic bags in produce and bulk departments at grocery stores. Starting in 2025, such bags will need to be reusable, recyclable, or compostable. Other bills focus on waste from batteries, electronics, fluorescent bulbs, and single use propane canisters. An additional bill outlaws types of thermoform plastic containers. Common forms are clamshell containers used in foodservice and for carry out. By 2025, 10% of these containers must be manufactured with recycled plastic and 30% by 2030. California Governor Gavin Newsome will need to sign these bills into law.

Included in the legislation is a bill that eliminate diversion credit municipalities use to manage waste. The 1989 Integrated Waste Management Act mandated that cities must divert at least 50% of their waste from landfills and into recycling, composting or other forms of reuse. It also allowed them to send up to 10% of that waste to the two solid waste incinerators left in the state. The new bill redefines incineration as disposal potentially reducing the appeal of this form of waste disposal.