California Recycling Bills Would Benefit Economy And Environment

June 2, 1999

Contact: Pat Franklin, (703) 276-9800

California Recycling Bills Would Benefit Economy And Environment

SACRAMENTO, CA -- California legislation to expand the bottle bill program and require plastic container recycling would benefit both the economy and environment, according to a national nonprofit research and education organization.

The Container Recycling Institute, a national clearinghouse for information on container and packaging recycling, sees two bills before the California State Senate providing broad benefits for community recycling programs across the state.

"Expanding California's beverage container deposit program to include juices, sport drinks, bottle water and teas is a smart way to reduce waste through an economic incentive," CRI Executive Director Pat Franklin said.

Senate Bill 332, sponsored by Sen. Byron Sher (D - Palo Alto), expands the current state law to include non-carbonated, non-alcoholic beverage containers. A vote by the full state Senate is expected today or tomorrow.

"California's current law has kept more than 100 billion beverage containers out of landfills over the past 12 years. The so-called "new age' beverages covered by Senator Sher's bill have appeared on the market since the original law was passed or, like juices, do not have the desired recycling rate without the deposit incentive," Franklin said.

CRI analysis indicates that the volume of beverage containers recycled will increase by approximately 20 percent. Although currently most of the beverages that would be covered are packaged in glass bottles, the beverage producers like food product companies are increasingly moving to plastics bottles.

The second bill, by SB 1110, by Senator Wesley Chesbro (D - Arcata), would expand the state law requiring plastic container recycling to include food and cosmetic containers. It also raises the required plastics recycling rate or recycled content alternative to 35 percent.

"Plastics recycling is failing to keep pace with the tremendous increase in plastic packaging for consumer products. We are producing more and recycling less. The Chesbro bill addresses an urgent problem, which is the high cost for collecting plastic waste and disposing of it in landfills. At the same time, it holds manufacturers responsible for their packaging waste," Franklin said.

Diverting these containers from landfills would save Californians millions of dollars annually in avoided disposal costs, reduced pollution and energy consumption resulting from making new containers from raw materials, stimulate recycling businesses and aid in reaching the state's 50 percent waste reduction and recycling goal.

"These bills send a powerful message that wasting billions of containers annually is no longer acceptable," Franklin concluded.