Recycling Bill that could help CA be much more green

Recycling Bill that could help CA be much more green

Cristobal Trujillo, Mirada Staff

A bill passed by the state legislature earlier this month would ban companies from putting the recycling symbols on products that can’t be proven recyclable, greatly reducing the number of products with that designation. 

Senate Bill 243, “Truth in Labeling for Recycled Materials,” must be signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom by Oct. 10 to become law. It would go into effect Jan. 1, 2024.

Plastics manufacturers oppose the bill, arguing that products that are now recycled would end up in the trash. “SB 343 puts more plastic in landfills, not less,” said Matt Seaholm, Vice President of Government Affairs at the Plastics Industry Association. “A number of common plastic products like yogurt cups and microwavable trays would be deemed unrecyclable and, therefore, would be landfilled.” 

It’s estimated that about 85% of single-use plastics do not get recycled and end up in landfills or get burned, harming the environment and troubling recycling facilities. “The state owes it to consumers to make sure that the symbol they associate with being recyclable actually means what they think it does,” NSAC Executive Director Heidi Sanborn stated in the release.

Senate bill 343 proposed by Ben Allen is meant specifically for manufacturing companies using the recycling symbol on products that are not recyclable.

 “Manufacturers shouldn’t be able to put the recycling symbol on items that aren’t actually recyclable in the real world.” said Ben Allen in the governor’s desk release, “By forcing truth in labelling, SB 343 will reduce contamination in the recycling stream and improve the sorting process, thereby saving cities and ratepayers money while empowering consumers to make more informed decisions.”

When companies start to follow the new bill and stop putting misleading recycling symbols on non-recyclable items, consumers will actually recycle what’s recyclable. “I don’t look up what’s recyclable or what isn’t,” said local resident Jack Torres, “I just look for the recycling symbol on the product and throw it in the blue bin.” There are many consumers who don’t look up what’s recyclable and trust the companies labelling them. If the bill gets signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, products with the recycling symbol will actually be factual.

A few weeks after writing this article, governor Gavin Newsom signed and approved the new regulations on Oct 5, 2021. The bill will take effect on Jan 1, 2024 so companies who aren’t following the new regulations can change their packaging.