The 2017-2018 session of the California legislature presents an opportunity for our state to lead the way on several issues related to recycling, food waste and other areas critical to a healthy environment. (Click Here for Past Legislation)
AB 1219 (Eggman) - The CA Good Samaritan Food Donation Act. AB 1219 will strengthen the laws which protect food donors in order to maximize food donations. Currently many businesses, retailers, and restaurants are either not aware of laws which protect food donors or are confused with the current laws in place. Food is the single most prevalent item in the waste stream and at the same time we have a hunger crisis in the state which affects one in eight Californians, including one in four children. By making clarifications and strengthening particular provisions, we can help to get more food to those who need it and less food going into landfills. CAW is a co-sponsor of the bill along with the California Association of Food Banks.
AB 954 (Chiu)- Food Waste Reduction. AB 954 is an important next step from last year's CAW sponsored bill which addressed confusing food date labels. Confusing, misleading, and cryptic food labels lead many consumers and stores to throw out perfectly healthy food every day. Date labels on food come in a dizzying variety of forms including “use by,” “best before,” “sell by,” and “enjoy by” dates, yet these simple markers are both poorly understood and surprisingly under-regulated, such that their meanings and time frames are generally not defined.
AB 509 (Frazier) Tire Recycling. AB 509 would reform incentive payments to increase the state's stagnant recycling rate and allow recyclers to compete with disposal, export and illegal dumping alternatives. This would help expand the state's tire recycling infrastructure to reduce greenhouse gases, create jobs, and cut the statewide and local costs associated with tire cleanup. Fifty percent of the funds generated from this program will go to fund rubberized asphalt products; the remainder will go to other recycled products.
AB 1288 (Eggman)- Tip Fee reform. AB 1288 seeks to address the need for more organics recycling infrastructure in order to meet the 75% organic waste diversion mandate set by the Short Lived Climate Pollutant law, SB 1383. As cities begin to comply with these organic waste diversion rates, they will have to face tough decisions when deciding how to fund new recycling programs. Raising the funds at a statewide level will allow for the funding of needed infrastructure without tough decisions at the local level. If the state is going to meet it's organic waste diversion mandates, significant investments in additional organics recycling facilities are needed.
AB 1036 (McCarty)- Composting. AB 1036 seeks to address the disparity between the statewide goals and mandates to divert organic waste from landfills and the contradicting regulations from state agencies involved in permitting organics recycling facilities. If the state is to achieve diversion goals, including 75% organics diversion by 2025 set by last year's Short Lived Climate Pollutant bill signed into law, significant expansion and construction of organics infrastructure is needed.
AB 1294 (Berman)- Recycled Content Claims. This measure extends a requirement for manufacturers or suppliers of plastic products making claims related to the recycled content of a plastic product to maintain information and documentation to support that claim. Many environmentally conscious consumers often buy for products that claim to be "green", and unfortunately there are companies who seek to take advantage of that without having a product that is truly green. Requiring companies to maintain this information helps protect California consumers from companies that aren't truthful in their environmental claims.
SB 705 (Allen)- Safe and Sustainable Takeout Food Packaging. SB 705 would ban expanded polystyrene (commonly known as 'Styrofoam) food takeout containers statewide. Food packaging such as expanded polystyrene has a low recycling rate in the state due the lack of available recycling locations as well as the contamination of food making it virtually useless for recyclers. Polystyrene is one of the largest component of marine debris pollution because it is easily transported by wind and rain into the marine environment. Once in the environment, it kills marine wildlife, including sea birds and turtles, which mistake it for food.
AB 1594 (Bloom)- Ocean Plastic Pollution- Takeout Food Packaging. AB 1594 directs the Ocean Protection Council to study the sources and types of ocean plastic pollution and to come up with recommendations for strategies to reduce ocean plastic pollution. Up to 80% of ocean pollution is litter from urban runoff, and non-recyclable single-use food packaging is a primary component of urban litter. Without state action to address the problem of ocean plastic pollution as a result of takeout food packaging litter and waste, local agencies have been left to enact a patch work of local restrictions.