Californians will have a better idea of what is going to landfills instead of recycling centers under one of the many related bills that Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law on Tuesday.
It sets the country’s strictest standards for which items can display the “arrow hunting” recycling symbol, advocates say.
Consumers assume that the symbol showing three circular arrows means items must go to curbside recycling bins, the California Commission on Recycling and Curbside Recycling said earlier this year. He recommended that the symbol “be reserved for materials that are accepted in curbside garbage cans and do not cause contamination”.
“It’s dishonest, it’s not fair to companies that have invested in making their products recyclable, and it’s not fair to consumers paying more for something they think is better for it. ‘environment,’ said Californians Against Waste advocacy director Nick Lapis. .
Sorting materials that cannot be recycled from the trash cans increases waste rates, he added.
Opponents retorted that the bill is so restrictive it could send more items to landfills.
The state’s list of regulators indicating what is recyclable could end up including only eight types of paper materials, two forms of glass, two types of metals, two types of plastics and one type of colored plastic, one predicted. coalition of 14 opposition organizations.
The State Department of Recycling and Resource Recovery now has until January 1, 2024 to release a study on what is recyclable. The new law exempts products and packaging manufactured for up to 18 months after publication of the study.
Several states have tried to stem the confusion over recycling after a report by the Consumer Brands Association recently found that it was contributing to “a flawed recycling system in America.”
Newsom, a Democrat, also approved a bill strengthening the rules on what can be used in compost to prevent soil contamination. It requires state regulators to approve labeling rules so consumers can know what can be composted.
The bill’s author, Democrat MP Phil Ting, said some companies label the items as suitable for compost even though they contain harmful chemicals that make the compost unusable.
“It shouldn’t be a difficult concept: if it says ‘recyclable’ it means you should be able to put it in the recycling bin, and if it says ‘compostable’ you should be able to put it in the recycling bin. compost bin. “Lapis said.” Somehow companies have decided they can get away with marketing they know is deceptive due to the technicality that most things are theoretically recyclable or compostable. “
A third bill expands an existing state law that allows restaurants to distribute single-use straws only on request. It requires take-out outlets to give consumers single-use condiment packages like ketchup and mustard and utensils like knives, forks and spoons only on request.
They were among nine related bills signed by the governor, who also touted $ 270 million in the state budget to modernize and encourage recycling.
He also signed a second Ting bill that will ban the use of so-called “chemicals forever” in food packaging from January 1, 2023 and, by 2024, will require cookware makers. that they disclose whether hazardous materials are used in their products.
Ting said PFAS, or perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, have been linked to cancer and thyroid disease and can disrupt hormones and vaccines. California joins Connecticut, Maine, Minnesota, New York, Vermont and Washington in banning PFAS in food packaging.
Another law signed by Newsom bans chemicals in products intended for infants and children, such as cribs and playpens from July 1, 2023.