Most comprehensive plastics bill in country stalls in California Legislature

Media Contacts
Alex Truelove

Ross Sherman

The Plastic Pollution Reduction Act would have slashed waste by 2030


SACRAMENTO — California’s Plastic Pollution Reduction Act failed to pass the state Legislature earlier this morning. This groundbreaking bill would have put California on a path to reducing single-use packaging and foodware by 75 percent by 2030. 

The law would have required manufacturers to design their products to reduce unnecessary packaging waste. By 2030, all packaging and single-use foodware would have needed to be recyclable or compostable, and producers would have been required to ensure that their products were recycled at a 75 percent rate over that same time period.

“From turtles with plastic straws stuck in their noses to whales with bellies full of plastic bags washing up on our beaches, you don’t need to look very hard to see an enormous plastic pollution problem,” said Steve Blackledge, senior director of conservation for Environment America. “Today’s result is disappointing, but we’re encouraged that several states did take action this year to address plastic pollution. We’ll keep pushing for legislation that prioritizes the wellbeing of our wildlife over the convenience of single-use plastics.”

This summer, Environment America and U.S. PIRG went door-to-door in 23 states to build support for statewide laws to curb plastic pollution. In the last year, thirteen states introduced bills to ban single-use plastics, with seven states successfully passing them into law, including Maryland, Oregon and Connecticut.

“We have to move our society beyond single-use plastics as quickly as possible,” said Alex Truelove, director of U.S. PIRG’s Zero Waste Program. “If we can figure out how to make a plastic spoon out of petroleum, surely we can figure out how to reuse that plastic instead of throwing it away. We’ll keep working in the states to create the right rules and incentives to reduce waste.”