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SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The California Legislature failed to pass the Plastic Pollution Reduction Act on the last day of the 2020 session Monday. Both the state Senate and Assembly proposed the legislation in response to the deluge of plastic pollution that is littering our streets and ending up in our oceans.
If either of the bills introduced in each house (AB 1080 and SB 54) had passed, it would have reduced plastic waste in California by 75 percent and required all single-use plastics to be recyclable or compostable by 2032. The bills require all plastic packaging and foodware to be recyclable or compostable.
“Nothing we use for a few minutes should end up polluting our environment for hundreds of years,” said Dan Jacobson, director of Environment California. “These bills would have been a step in the right direction to help stave off the flood of plastics that is hurting our dolphins, sea otters and other ocean life. But this is too important to give up on; we will try again next year.”
Without a bold change of course, plastic trash flowing into our oceans could triple by 2040. One study estimates that the United States is on track to produce 30 percent more plastic waste in 2020 than in 2019 because of increased use of single-use plastics during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Americans eat about a credit card’s worth of plastic every week thanks to microplastics contaminating our food and water,” said Claudia Deeg, public health associate with CALPIRG. “The legislature should have taken bold action to reduce plastic waste in California, but instead we are passing the buck for another waste-filled year.”
The University of California recently committed to eliminate single-use plastics on its campuses over the next decade. Other institutions should follow its lead to help combat the plastic pollution crisis.
Jacobson finished, “The issue of plastic pollution is obvious. Too much of this waste is ending up in our oceans where it breaks down into microplastics and can spread all over the world. It’s time to cut the plastic waste we are generating. We need to reduce, reuse and recycle.”
Environment California and CALPIRG are part of The Public Interest Network, which operates and supports organizations committed to a shared vision of a better world and a strategic approach to social change.
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