The State of California Takes Action Against Plastic Pollution

Currently, the world makes and consumes about 600 billion pounds of plastic yearly and the plastic industry is growing at about 5% a year. But to cut down on waste, the state of California has implemented plenty of different rules and regulations concerning plastic and other non-renewable resources.

Recently, California passed a few different bills that will affect recycling practices across the state. As reported to Resource Recycling, Inc., they are as follows.

The Senate 705 bill bans food providers — such as restaurants, food stands, and even coffee shops — from serving their food in containers that cannot be recycled. The only containers allowed are ones that are approved by local recycling plants.

Also known as the Ocean Pollution Reduction Act of 2017, the bill includes everything from paper plates and cups to hinged/lidded containers and trays. However, it doesn’t include smaller items such as straws, utensils, or cup lids.

In addition, Assembly Bill 319 was passed which prohibits retailers from selling beverages in plastic bottles unless the cap is tethered to the container. This legislation means that the consumer will be able to drink through the cap, and will dramatically limit the waste produced from these bottles if the bottle is one streamlined piece.

California lawmakers aren’t just concerned over the number of plastic bottles used in their state. They have passed legislation at the end of 2016 that completely banned the use of plastic bags; in restaurants, retail locations, and even schools. This law was created in hopes to promote recycling because on average, Americans use about 100 billion plastic bags per year. For perspective, that means each person in the country uses between 350 and 500 plastic bags annually.

What’s more is that California has even introduced legislation to track all plastic waste that goes into the ocean. Meant to help identify the multiple different types of ocean pollution and its sources, the Assembly Bill 1594 gives funding to the Ocean Protection Council to complete research on plastics in the waterways. As a part of the bill, the council must be able to provide recommendations for new laws and legislatures with the overall goal of reducing the state’s overall plastic pollution rate.

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