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Marine debris is a growing concern internationally, and there are real issues that need to be addressed related to plastic entering the marine environment.  The industry is working to be a part of the solution. While anti-straw campaigns may bring attention to the problem, they are not long-term solutions to significant infrastructure issues, and they create a false sense of accomplishment. 

Bans on some products like straws, are proliferating around the country, but the nation has entered a critical time for investment in a new generation of waste management solutions, especially as China and other countries who have been the primary processors of scrap plastic recycling, make significant policy changes that require the U.S. to make new investments.

PLASTICS is advocating for additional focus on recycling, advances in waste management, energy recovery and non-mechanical recycling technologies. We are also addressing the multitude of new and emerging disposable plastic product bans. 

Find out more about these issues and efforts below.

Recycling Infrastructure Priorities

CalRecycle

California may lead the nation in anti-plastics proposals, but many other states and cities are trying to keep pace.

On June 4, PLASTICS State Government Affairs attended a CalRecycle workshop entitled “Recycling Globally: California’s Role in Adapting to a New Market Climate”. The workshop allowed stakeholders from throughout California to share information on the impacts they have seen and to discuss potential solutions and strategies. The workshop was a great opportunity to gain additional insight into the thinking of the municipal recyclers in California.  Significant emphasis was placed on reducing contamination in the recycling stream with better public education. The majority of 3–7 plastics in California were previously exported, but Asian markets for them are shrinking. Several local recycling agencies in attendance indicated their programs were accepting only PET and HDPE, which continue to have healthy markets. Without the development of local markets more local agencies may refuse to accept 3–7 plastics.

Several active pieces of legislation were referenced during the workshop. PLASTICS has commented on the following:

SB 168 amends the Beverage Container Recycling and Litter Reduction Act. 
SB 1335 prohibits a food service facility located in a state-owned facility, acting as a concessionaire on state property, or under contract to provide food service to a state agency from dispensing prepared food using a type of food service packaging unless the type of food service packaging is on a specified list maintained and updated by the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle).