Stop using “chasing arrows” on products that aren’t recyclable

Today CALPIRG testified in support of SB 343 by Senator Ben Allen, which would ban the use of the "chasing arrows" symbol on products that are not consistently recycled. Read our testimony here. 

My name is Emily Rusch, and I am the executive director of CALPIRG, the California Public Interest Research Group. We are a statewide consumer advocacy organization, funded by thousands of individual supporters throughout the state. 

Numerous studies, including one by the Consumer Brand Association, have shown that most consumers assume the chasing arrows symbol signifies that an item is able to be recycled. Many of us take the time to check every container we use, and if we see that chasing arrows symbol somewhere on the container, we rinse it out thoroughly, and throw it in the blue bin to be recycled. 

Unfortunately, some experts have estimated that less than 15 percent of single-use plastics in California are actually recycled

Many manufacturers use the “chasing arrows” symbol on their hard plastic containers on the bottom of their container, regardless of whether the type of plastic used can be recycled, or whether additional packaging on top of the plastic container, like a plastic sleeve, make it impossible for the container to be recycled. Many manufacturers place an additional chasing arrows symbol prominently on the front or back of their packaging, regardless of the actual recyclability of the product. 

We have a plastic waste crisis on our hands. Plastics are seeping into every corner of our planet, from the depths of Lake Tahoe to the bottom of the Mariana Trench. Plastic waste is also creating a financial burden ultimately borne by consumers, ratepayers, and taxpayers, who have to pay to get rid of it. We need companies to start using recycled material to create their products, and ensure those products are made so that they can be recycled back into new products at their end of their life. We know that consumers It is impossible for the marketplace to reward good actors, and avoid bad actors, if consumers are duped. 

SB 343 will help clarify for consumers which products are able to be recycled, and which will almost certainly end up in a landfill. We urge your aye vote.




Emily Rusch

Vice President and Senior Director of State Offices, The Public Interest Network

Emily is the senior director for state organizations for The Public Interest Network. She works nationwide with the state group directors for PIRG and Environment America to help them build stronger organizations and achieve greater success. Emily was the executive director for CALPIRG from 2009-2021, overseeing a myriad of CALPIRG campaigns to protect public health, protect consumers in the marketplace, and promote a robust democracy. Emily works in our Oakland, California, office, and loves camping, hiking, gardening and cooking with her family.

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