Gov. Newsom Signs Legislation to Reduce Single-Use Plastic Waste
Press Release Date: October 5, 2021
Location: SACRAMENTO, Calif
Today, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law two bills — AB 962 and AB 1276 — aimed at combatting plastic pollution and reducing waste. Oceana applauds the governor for signing these bills to help tackle the plastic crisis in the state, and thanks the legislature for passing these measures.
“It’s nearly impossible for consumers to avoid unnecessary single-use plastic, and these bills give them access to the kind of plastic-free options they have been calling for,” said Oceana’s Pacific policy and communications manager, Ashley Blacow-Draeger. “By reducing plastic pollution at the source and increasing the share of refillable beverage bottles in the marketplace, California is taking an important step away from the economy’s throwaway culture that pollutes our planet and toward a more sustainable way of living. We thank Gov. Newsom and the state legislature for standing with the majority of Californians who think that plastics and marine debris are a problem.”
AB 962, introduced by Sen. Sydney Kamlager (D-Los Angeles) and sponsored by the Clean Seas Lobbying Coalition, will pave the way for refillable bottles to be sold in the state and is an important step in moving California toward refillable bottle systems. The bill removes the requirement that single-use bottles be crushed for recycling so they can be preserved to be washed and refilled by beverage producers, simultaneously creating jobs and reducing waste.
AB 1276, introduced by Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo (D-Los Angeles) and sponsored by the Clean Seas Lobbying Coalition and Californians Against Waste, will reduce plastic pollution from single-use food and beverage accessories by requiring that utensils, straws, stirrers and condiment packages only be provided upon request by customers. This bill expands the state’s plastic straws “upon request” law to include other single-use plastic food and beverage accessories for takeout and food delivery items. Discarded plastic foodware is consistently among the top 10 waste items most commonly found at beach cleanups across the state. In addition to curbing the growing plastic pollution problem, the shift to an “upon request” approach to disposable foodware will cut costs for restaurants. Earlier this year, Washington state Governor Jay Inslee also signed legislation requiring dine-in, take-out, and delivery customers to request plastic utensils, straws, cold-beverage cup lids, and condiment packaging.
Globally, an estimated 33 billion pounds of plastic enter the ocean every year, and the United States generates more plastic waste than any other country. Single-use plastics are polluting our environment, posing health risks to our communities, and costing local governments millions of dollars annually to manage.
To learn more about Oceana’s campaign to stop plastic pollution, please visit usa.oceana.org/plastics
Oceana is the largest international advocacy organization dedicated solely to ocean conservation. Oceana is rebuilding abundant and biodiverse oceans by winning science-based policies in countries that control one-third of the world’s wild fish catch. With more than 225 victories that stop overfishing, habitat destruction, pollution, and the killing of threatened species like turtles and sharks, Oceana’s campaigns are delivering results. A restored ocean means that 1 billion people can enjoy a healthy seafood meal, every day, forever. Together, we can save the oceans and help feed the world. Visit USA.Oceana.org to learn more.