We know plastic waste affects everyone and every place, and California’s no exception. People want change, but what happens when the politicians can’t seem to take action? Petitions go out, signatures come in, and the people exercise their right to vote. When it comes to reducing single-use plastics, this scenario might just be on the horizon.
A Bay Area waste hauler and several environmental groups are aiming to put plastic reduction on the California ballot. Citing Sacramento’s failure to act, they hope California voters choose to finally cut down on plastic waste. At OkStraw Paper Straws, we know nothing wakes up politicians quite like a public referendum.
Third Bill's The Charm?
Plastic waste chokes marine habitats and overwhelms recycling facilities. While there are many plastic culprits, single-use plastics are among the worst. They only get used once, but they litter the environment forever. Think plastic straws or food packaging, and then you’ll realize how pervasive single-use plastics really are. Unless companies are compelled to use biodegradable alternatives, then they have no incentive to cut out single-use plastics.
This year, California’s State Legislature in Sacramento had the opportunity to pass bills to limit single-use plastics. The bills would have required manufacturers to take responsibility for plastics they produce. Manufacturers would have needed to make fully recyclable or compostable materials, and limit single-use plastics. These two bills, however, failed to get the necessary votes, and died at the state capitol.
The New Recycling Bill Explained
That’s where this new bill comes in, and it goes further than those two dead plastic waste bills. Under the proposed bill, all plastic packaging and single-use foodware items must be recyclable or compostable by 2030. There will also be up to a 1 cent manufacturer fee for making plastic items and packaging. This fee will go to building composting and recycling facilities, and pay for beach cleanups.
At OkStraw Paper Straws, we like seeing legislation that both addresses single-use plastic, and deals with the waste issue. The plastic waste bill must have 623,212 signatures by April 2020, in order to be on the November ballot. Behind this ballot effort is Recology, a waste hauling company based in San Francisco. Recology focuses on sustainable waste management practices, and supporting this initiative demonstrates their corporate social responsibility.
Stay Vigilant, Californians!
OkStraw welcomes this initiative, here’s our warning to fellow Californians. If the initiative gets on the ballot, then get ready for a PR onslaught from plastic companies. Plastic industry lobbyist groups will try to kill a plastic recycling bill, just like they did in Sacramento. One of these lobbyist groups is Californians for Recycling and the Environment (CRE).
During the debate in Sacramento, CRE warned that the two recycling bills would hurt Californians by banning products like dog food and toothpaste. These were nothing but scare tactics, but the damage was done. Misinformed lawmakers feared backlash from their constituents, and killed the bills. Unless California residents know the truth about this recycling bill, then they’ll fall victim to these scare tactics too.
Paper Straws for a Sustainable California
From us at OkStraw to our fellow Californians: Don’t believe the scary stories plastics companies tell you. This recycling bill won’t take away your toothpaste and dog food, it will hold plastic companies accountable. If we want to heal our oceans and fight climate change, then we need to recycle all plastic, and replace it when we can.
Fortunately, great biodegradable alternatives to plastic are out there, and our paper straws are one of them. OkStraw Paper Straws never need special composting, and come from sustainable forestry practices. From ADA-compliant paper bendy straws to paper bubble tea straws, there’s a biodegradable straw for every drink. So California, get to the polls, voice your support for recycling, and join the Cause for Paper Straws!
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