- California's state legislature recently passed three bills related to plastics recycling and sustainability, as reported by Plastics News. Governor Jerry Brown now has until Sept. 30 to sign the bills into law.
- If signed, AB 1005 would continue the state's Plastic Market Development program through 2018 by authorizing one more year of payments for in-state recyclers from a $10 million annual fund. AB 2530 would require manufacturers of plastic beverage containers to submit annual reports on how much recycled content they used. No minimum amount of recycled content would be required.
- The third bill, AB 1613, is not directly related to the recycling industry but is seen as potentially beneficial to plastic companies involved in certain vehicle and solar industries. The bill would distribute $1.2 billion from the state's greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program to be invested in cleaner vehicle technology, solar programs, waste diversions and transit alternatives.
California's container recycling program has struggled in recent years due to shifting commodity prices, fraud and other issues. Hundreds of redemption centers have closed and the trend is expected to continue without some type of system-wide overhaul by the state.
While these three bills are all listed as priorities by the state's Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery, known as CalRecycle, many recyclers say larger action is needed.
One solution that has been proposed is changing the formula used to determine payments to redemption centers. The current formula is based on a 12-month average of commodity prices with a three-month lag time, whereas one proposal would base the formula on the most recent commodity prices from a three-month period. While it is unclear if this would be most effective in creating positive change for California's recycling industry, it is an interesting suggestion to help propel the market.