Recycling is the conversion of discarded materials into new products or objects, significantly contributing to the global effort to reduce carbon footprint and waste. Consequently, individuals play a crucial role in this initiative. The greater the number of individuals who choose to recycle, the more significant the impact of the process.
Over the years, the plastics industry has continuously launched advertising and marketing campaigns to persuade the general population that recycling can solve the plastic waste problem. However, there is no assurance that all plastic products are designed to be recyclable.
In this article, we will dive into the discourse surrounding the authenticity of recyclable plastic products from seven manufacturers in California, as well as relevant recycling laws in the state.
The Demand To Substantiate Recyclability Claims
Recyclability marketing is widely discussed in California, with SB 270 mandating that plastic bag companies must certify that their products comply with the state’s recyclability regulations. The issue started when California Atty. Gen. Rob Bonta demanded seven plastic bag manufacturers to prove that their products are recyclable. He had requested that they provide evidence for their recyclability claims; otherwise, they could face a fine of millions of dollars or a ban on selling their products in the state.
The manufacturers have confirmed that these containers meet the requirements for recyclable content and supply a significant portion of the bags used in California grocery stores. But despite their assertions and the mass consumer belief in recycling, it appears that their plastic bags are not recyclable in the conventional sense.
Atty. Gen. Bonta did not believe that the seven manufacturers’ bags were being recycled or were recyclable within the state. However, he stated that he was open to and interested in evidence supporting or refuting the claims. Furthermore, the challenge to the companies followed the announcement of a broader and potentially longer-term investigation into plastics concerns.
Relevant California Recycling Laws
Recycling is a massive industry in California made up primarily of diverse companies — both large and small — engaged in various efforts and activities. The recycling loop can depict the industry’s full scope, which includes collection, manufacturing, and purchasing.
Here are some of the state’s most relevant recycling laws and regulations:
SB 270 (Single-Use Carryout Bag Ban)
This bill aims to reduce the costs of managing plastic bag litter by prohibiting single-use plastic grocery bags in supermarkets and pharmacies. It also requires bag manufacturers and distributors who sell recyclable grocery bags in certain California stores to submit proof of certification via the Reusable Grocery Bag Reporting System (RGBRS).
SB 343 (Truth in Labeling for Recyclable Materials)
This bill seeks to end consumer confusion about which materials belong in the blue recycling bin. It also contributes to the reduction of contamination of recyclable materials, the removal of waste volume, and the improvement of recycling rates. Moreover, it imposes stricter limitations on recycling marketing claims for packaging in the state.
RPPC Law (Rigid Plastic Packaging Container Law)
This law was part of an initiative to lessen the volume of plastic waste disposed of in California dumpsites and increase the use of post-consumer recycled plastic. It requires manufacturers of products packaged in RPPCs to comply with one of several regulatory options, including a minimum of 25% post-consumer content, source reduction, and reusable or refillable RPPCs.
Mandatory Commercial Recycling Law
This law emphasizes increased commercial waste diversion to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It seeks to reduce GHG emissions by five million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents. It also requires the commercial sector to recycle 2 to 3 million tons of materials annually by 2020 and beyond.
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Since 1967, PPP, LLC has been a full-service plastic recycling facility with the mission of reducing plastic waste by repurposing it. We offer expertise in the recycling, pelletizing, and grinding of both high-density and low-density polyethylene scraps.
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