Today, California lawmakers failed to pass the California Circular Economy and Pollution Reduction Act (AB 1080 and SB 54), allowing the plastics industry to continue contaminating Californians’ environment, food and bodies with unnecessary plastic waste.
While several states have enacted bans on solitary plastic items like straws and bags, AB 1080 and SB 54 would have been the first to mandate source reduction of single-use packaging and disposable foodware, including plates, bowls, cups, stirrers and straws. The bill would have required producers to reduce waste from single-use packaging and foodware, including that made from plastic, by 75% by 2030 through source reduction, recycling and composting.
Oceana’s plastics campaign director, Christy Leavitt, released this statement following the decision:
"It's time for policymakers and companies to take bold steps to curb the production of unnecessary single-use plastic and ensure consumers are provided with plastic-free choices. California had the opportunity to be a national leader in protecting the planet and its inhabitants from the plastic increasingly entering our oceans, soil, air, food and bodies. With plastic production rates projected to increase at least fourfold between 2014 and 2050, we need local, state, federal and global policies to aggressively reduce plastic at the source and require companies to stop using a material designed to last forever to make products that are only used once. This is a corporate-driven crisis, and it's up to policymakers to ensure the onus falls on companies to clean it up. While today's lack of action is disappointing, this fight is not over. Awareness of the plastic pollution problem has taken root and continues to grow, prompting the passage of policies regulating single-use plastic all around the country. That momentum isn't going to subside. We thank Sen. Allen and Assemblywoman Gonzalez for their prioritizing this global issue by sponsoring these bills."
An estimated 17.6 billion pounds of plastic enters the ocean every year and never fully goes away, instead breaking down into smaller and smaller pieces that attract harmful pollutants and enter our food chain. With plastic production growing at a rapid rate, increasing amounts of plastic can be expected to flood our blue planet with devastating consequences.
More information about Oceana’s campaign to end the plastics problem can be found here.