California governor signs nation’s first recycled content requirement for plastic beverage containers

Read the full story in WasteDive.

UPDATE: September 24, 2020: Gov. Gavin Newsom signed AB 793 into law yesterday, making California the first state to enact a recycled content requirement for plastic beverage containers. The first benchmark is to reach 15% recycled content by 2022, on the way to a 50% requirement by 2030. 

“California has long led the way on bold solutions in the climate space, and the steps we take today bring us closer to our ambitious goals,” said Newsom in a statement describing the new standards as “the strongest in the world.”

Dive Brief:

AB 793, a recycled content mandate, made it out of California’s legislature on the day’s last session. But the Circular Economy and Pollution Reduction Act (AB 1080 and SB 54), a major extended producer responsibility (EPR) packaging effort, failed for the second year in a row.

AB 793 passed the state Senate on Aug. 30 by 65-0 and is now headed to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk. Several supporters of the bill indicated they expect Newsom to sign after he vetoed a predecessor bill last year, AB 792, over concerns about burdening state regulators. The bill would be the toughest of its kind globally per reporting by Plastics News, requiring 50% recycled content in plastic beverage bottles by 2030.

The identical EPR bills were less successful — AB 1080 passed the Senate but did not make it back for Assembly concurrence in time, while SB 54 fell shy by four Assembly votes due to moderate Democrats abstaining, according to CalMatters. Those bills also did not make it to a final vote in 2019 amid pushback from major packaging interests and some industry players including Waste Management, despite support from Republic Services and Recology.  

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