Oceana Applauds California Assembly for Passing Plastic Packaging Bill - Oceana USA

Oceana Applauds California Assembly for Passing Plastic Packaging Bill

Legislation to Reduce Single-Use Plastic Packaging Added to Ship On-line Orders Heads to Senate

Press Release Date: May 27, 2022

Location: Sacramento, Calif.


Ashley Blacow | email: ablacow@oceana.org | tel: Ashley Blacow

The California State Assembly passed Assembly Bill 2026 to reduce single-use plastic waste generated in the e-commerce marketplace. AB 2026, introduced by Assemblymember Laura Friedman (D-Glendale), will tackle single-use plastic packaging that is often added to goods for shipment of products ordered online. The Assembly sent the measure to the state Senate with a final vote of 41-26. The bill is co-sponsored by Oceana, CALPIRG, and Environment California.

Ashley Blacow-Draeger, Pacific policy and communications manager with Oceana released the following statement:

“We commend Assemblymember Friedman for her leadership in addressing unnecessary single-use plastic packaging that proliferates e-commerce purchases — the convenience of online shopping and the desire to protect our environment shouldn’t be an either/or decision. We applaud the assembly for listening to Californians who are overwhelmingly asking for plastic-free choices. Californians shouldn’t have to worry that the packaging shipped with their online purchases will pollute our oceans, our coastlines, and our communities every time they place an order. With alternatives to single-use plastic packaging available, the time is now to address the growing use of unnecessary single-use plastic packaging in the e-commerce marketplace.”

Sales in the e-commerce marketplace have increased rapidly as consumers turn to online orders for more of their retail purchases. In the U.S. alone, 601.3 million pounds of plastic packaging waste was generated in e-commerce business in 2020, and California now leads the country in online shopping. With almost a third of the world’s population now buying products online, the amount of e-commerce plastic packaging is expected to more than double by 2026.

Recent Oceana polling shows that residents overwhelmingly support state policies that reduce single-use plastic, and 72% of California voters support policies that reduce plastic packaging in online shopping.

“The phasing out of plastic and polystyrene packaging means that much less plastic pollution in our landfills and oceans, which is where most of it ends up because most plastic is not recycled,” Assemblymember Laura Friedman said. “AB 2026 will encourage the use of sustainable alternatives, and I hope the progress we make in California will inspire the end of single-use plastics across the country.”

Nearly all single-use plastic packaging — including shipping envelopes, air pillows, bubble wrap, and plastic foam — becomes waste immediately after a package is opened. Most municipal recycling programs in California do not accept this type of plastic. Almost all of this waste heads for landfills, incineration, or the environment where it persists as a pollutant. Local governments and communities are left to bear the impacts and financial burdens of mitigation and cleanup. California communities spend more than $420 million each year to clean up and prevent plastic from entering our oceans and waterways. This category of plastic used in e-commerce shipments significantly contributes to climate change throughout the life cycle and is the deadliest type of plastic to ocean animals. AB 2026 has the support of more than 75 organizations focusing on environmental protection, environmental health, and justice and California businesses.

If successful, this measure would reduce the use of plastic films, cushioning, and other plastic packaging materials used to ship products in and into California by Jan. 1, 2024, for large online retailers, and Jan. 1, 2025, for small online retailers.

AB 2026 now moves to the Senate for consideration.

For more information about Oceana’s campaign to end the plastics problem, please visit www.oceana.org/plastics.