Sacramento, Calif. — Today, the California State Senate passed the California Circular Economy and Plastic Pollution Reduction Act (SB-54), which will set a high bar for reducing single-use packaging across the country. The legislation — introduced by Sen. Ben Allen, D-Santa Monica — applies to all single-use packaging sold in California, as well as the top 10 single-use plastic items found during beach cleanups. Companion legislation (AB-1080) — introduced by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego — is anticipated for a floor vote tomorrow in the California State Assembly.
“Solving the plastics problem in our oceans will take a concerted effort from the companies that are producing and selling these materials,” said Geoff Shester, California campaign director and senior scientist at Oceana. “This legislation will create the framework desperately needed to turn the tide on our single-use plastics problem. We applaud these state leaders and urge that these bills remain strong in their commitment to meaningfully and drastically reduce the impacts of single-use products. As the fifth-largest economy in world, California has the opportunity to remain an environmental leader on responsible plastics policy and inspire national and international change.”
"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,” said Senator Ben Allen. “This legislation provides a comprehensive plan to transition manufacturers and consumers toward more sustainable packaging and products. The dire impacts of single-use plastic on our oceans, marine life, the broader environment and human health are too powerful to ignore. And local cities are forced to spend millions of taxpayer dollars on waste management and cleanup that should be spent on other essential services. I thank my colleagues for recognizing the need to address the plastics crisis by passing SB 54 today."
“Our local communities are now overwhelmed by the cost of single-use plastic waste,” Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez said. “We have technology and innovation to improve how we reduce and recycle the plastic packaging and products in our state. Now, we have to find the political will to do so.”
“Single-use plastic pollution is plaguing our oceans,” said Oceana’s chief policy officer, Jacqueline Savitz. “It is highly irresponsible for companies to use a material designed to last forever to make something they know we will use for just minutes or seconds and then discard. The three R’s start with reduce. To the extent that this action drives reductions in corporate plastic use, it will be a major step forward. But make no mistake, we cannot recycle our way out of the plastics crisis. We must reduce the amount of single-use plastic being pumped into commerce by consumer goods companies, and California is an excellent place to start.”
Plastic pollution has grown into a major global crisis for the oceans, with an estimated 17.6 billion pounds of plastic entering the marine environment from land-based sources every year.
For Oceana’s top 10 reasons to reduce plastic production, please click here.
For more information about Oceana’s campaign to end the plastics problem, please visit www.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 200 victories that stop overfishing, habitat destruction, pollution and killing of threatened species like turtles and sharks, Oceana’s campaigns are delivering results. A restored ocean means that one billion people can enjoy a healthy seafood meal, every day, forever. Together, we can save the oceans and help feed the world. Visit www.usa.oceana.org to learn more.