California law will roll out sharp restrictions on plastic usage over next decade

Bill will mandate majority of plastics in state be recycled by 2032.

Updated: June 30, 2022 - 5:29pm

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A bill passed by California legislators on Thursday and expected to be signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom will impose strict requirements on how businesses and manufacturers in the state handle and distribute plastics, with one lawmaker calling the move an instance of "global environmental leadership."

The bill, which would establish the Plastic Pollution Prevention and Packaging Producer Responsibility Act, would mandate that a broad class of materials "offered for sale, distributed, or imported in or into the state on or after January 1, 2032, is recyclable or compostable."

"In particular, the bill would require not less than 65% of plastic covered material to be recycled on and after January 1, 2032, and would authorize the department to increase or decrease the specified recycling rates in certain circumstances," the bill's text states. 

“With this legislation, California continues its tradition of global environmental leadership – solving a big problem in a way that will move and grow markets, drive investment, and provide tools to states," State Sen. Ben Allen told media after the bill's passage. 

The bill includes a provision to allow the state government to "impose an administrative civil penalty in an amount not to exceed $50,000 per day per violation ... on any entity that is not in compliance with the act’s requirements."