Statement: California Assembly advances bill to reduce single-use plastic e-commerce packaging

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. -The California State Assembly passed legislation (AB 2026)Thursday to reduce the use of plastic mailers, air pillows, bubble wrap and polystyrene foam packaging commonly used in the online retail marketplace. If approved by the state Senate and signed by the governor, California would become the first state in the country to pass a law to reduce single-use plastic waste generated by online retailers. 

In 2020 alone, the e-commerce industry generated an estimated 600 million pounds of plastic waste in the United States, and 2.9 billion globally. With the continued growth of online shopping, plastic packaging from e-commerce is estimated to double by 2026

Most single-use plastic packaging used for online purchases is not recycled, but rather breaks into small pieces in the environment. Micro-plastics are commonly found in human blood, potentially exposing people to harmful impacts.

In response, CALPIRG State Director Jenn Engstrom issued the following statement: 

“Almost every time we receive an online purchase, we’re stuck dealing with a pile of plastic. Most of the time, the foam peanuts, bubble wrap and plastic envelopes that come with our products end up going straight into the trash can, and in the best case scenario, off to the landfill shortly thereafter. With more and more online shopping, we need to change the way we ship things, so that buying something online no longer means contributing to the plastic waste crisis that is poisoning our environment and harming our health.” 

CALPIRG applauds the California State Assembly for putting California on a path to reduce unnecessary single-use plastic in e-commerce. We hope this legislation provides a model for other states to follow. We thank the bill author Assemblymember Laura Friedman and co-author Assemblymembers Ting, Bloom, Kalra, Bennett, Luz Rivas and Stonefor their leadership on this critical issue. 

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