California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed several waste and recycling bills into law last month, while vetoing two due to concerns about implementation.
The signed bills include updates to the state’s container redemption program, accounting for incineration in recycling credits, battery recycling programs, organic waste diversion efforts and plastic bag regulations. The vetoed bills were focused on recycled content standards for plastic thermoform packaging and the disposal of propane cylinders.
Newsom recently signed SB 1013, which will add certain wine and distilled spirit bottles to the state’s container redemption program with a 10-cent value. The governor also signed SB 38, which exempts certain manufacturers involved in in the program from new state recycled content requirements. Earlier in the month, he signed SB 895, which updates definitions and requirements for nonprofit convenience zone recyclers to allow a longtime recycling center, Grey Bears, to continue operating.
Another notable bill the governor signed is AB 1857, which repeals a part of state law allowing jurisdictions to count up to 10% of the waste sent to “transformation” facilities toward a 50% diversion requirement. Additionally, it creates a Zero-Waste Equity grant program for projects that reduce reliance on incineration. These initiatives could affect California’s two remaining solid waste incinerators: Covanta, which opposed the bill, operates the Stanislaus County facility as well as a publicly owned facility in Long Beach.
Newsom signed two bills meant to make battery drop-offs easier and reduce collection vehicle and recycling facility fires. AB 2440 establishes an extended producer responsibility program for most batteries. SB 1215 adds battery-embedded products to the state’s e-waste program, meaning consumers will begin paying a disposal fee when they purchase applicable products starting in 2026.
The governor also signed AB 1985, which delays enforcement penalties for jurisdictions to meet their organic waste procurement targets set out in SB 1383. Bill sponsors say the legislation will give local governments more time to ramp up infrastructure needed to meet the goals. Further, it allows renewable gas procured from a publicly owned treatment works to count toward a jurisdiction’s procurement target until 2025.
Late last week Newsom signed SB 1046, which will ban the distribution of “precheckout bags that do not meet compostability and recyclability requirements” by January 2025. This will apply to bags for items such as “loose produce, meat or fish, nuts, grains, candy, and bakery goods.” The governor also recently signed AB 661, which calls for an update to the State Agency Buy Recycled Campaign with new recycled content standards.
The governor vetoed AB 2784, a bill that would have set recycled content standards for thermoform food containers, due to concerns about how it could related to the state’s upcoming extended producer responsibility law. He also recently vetoed SB 1256, which would have banned the sale of disposable propane cylinders. The proposal had support from waste and recycling stakeholders, due in part to safety concerns around the items, but the governor’s veto message said “an outright ban without a plan for collection and refill infrastructure could inhibit the success of building a circular system in California.”
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect the final status of all bills through the Sept. 30 deadline for action by the governor.
|Bill Number||Highlights||Bill Status|
|SB 54||Creates an EPR program for printed paper and plastic packaging and sets recycling rates and reductions for plastics||Signed by governor|
|SB 1013||Expands container redemption program to include wine and distilled spirits||Signed by governor|
|SB 38||Exempts certain manufacturers involved in container redemption program from new state recycled content requirements||Signed by governor|
|AB 1857||Repeals provision of law that allows jurisdictions to count up to 10% of the waste sent to waste-to-energy facilities toward their 50% diversion requirement||Signed by governor|
|AB 2440||Establishes an extended producer responsibility program for most batteries||Signed by governor|
|SB 1215||Adds battery-embedded products to the state’s e-waste program||Signed by governor|
|AB 661||Updates the State Agency Buy Recycled Campaign with new recycled content standards for materials purchased by the state of California||Signed by governor|
|AB 2784||Specifies recycled content standards for thermoform plastic food containers||Vetoed|
|SB 1046||Bans plastic produce bags||Signed by governor|
|AB 1985||Delays enforcement penalties for organic waste procurement targets||Signed by governor|
|SB 895||Updates definitions and requirements for nonprofit convenience zone recyclers||Signed by governor|
|SB 1256||Bans the sale of disposable propane cylinders||Vetoed|
Additional reporting by Cole Rosengren