New law aims to dramatically reduce plastic pollution in California by 2032

One of the country’s toughest rules on single-use plastic packaging will require a 25% cut in production over the next decade, more recycling efforts and accountability from manufacturers for plastic pollution in California.

Last week, Governor Gavin Newson signed a landmark plastics law aimed at tackling the pressing problem of plastic pollution in California, one of the nation’s toughest regulations on single-use plastics to date. .

The state is not outright banning single-use plastics. In place, the law requires all packaging to be recyclable or compostable, a 25% reduction in production by 2032 as well as 65% of all single-use plastic packaging – including paper and metals – to be recycled within the same time frame . Businesses that fail to comply with the new regulations could be subject to fines of up to $50,000 per day.

The sweeping law also includes measures to hold polluters accountable: Over the next 10 years, plastic producers and manufacturers must contribute US$5 billion to a fund that the state will use to fund conservation efforts, mitigate effects of plastic pollution on the environment and human beings. health and tackle plastic pollution in the ocean.

Each year, more than 8 million tons of plastic enter the oceans, which is equivalent to around 60% of all the plastic produced in the world. Half is single-use plastic. Roughly 40% of the ocean surface is now covered in plastic debris and if we don’t reduce production immediately, it is estimated that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean.

In August 2014, California became the first state to pass a law Enforce a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags in major retail stores. Other states like Hawaii and New York followed suit, imposing plastic bag bans on grocery stores and other retailers in 2015 and 2019 respectively. Recently, California also passed a law requiring retail stores to adopt an in-store recycling program.

Although it is the nation’s most ambitious plastics law to date, some environmental groups say the new regulations don’t go far enough because the focus is exclusively on reducing plastic production. Without a total ban on production and consumption – many argue – plastic will continue to be sold and it will end up in landfills, which the law still allows.

Plastic is expected to overtake the greenhouse gas emissions of coal by 2030, with the production and incineration of plastic products already accounting for 232 million tonnes of emissions that warm the planet every year.

The sweeping law to reduce plastic pollution in California came on the same day as the The US Supreme Court limited the federal government’s ability to reduce pollution and fight against climate change.

You might also like: U.S. Supreme Court’s EPA ruling hampers climate agenda and ‘sets the country back’ in fight against climate change

Bryce K. Locke