March 5, 2020

California Legislature Looks to Ban Single-Use Packaging and Products

The California Assembly is currently considering SB 54 (Allen – Redondo Beach), the California Circular Economy and Pollution Reduction Act, which would ban most single-use packaging and products that are not recycled (not just recyclable) by 2030.

SB 54 aims to achieve a 75% reduction in the waste generated from single-use packaging and products, which would include items like field wraps, salad bags and clam shells. Certainly, this bill would change the way produce is packed in California, leading to considerable increases in costs for the industry.

WG understands that the marketplace is moving to reduce single-use plastics. However, we also understand the significant fiscal and logistical burdens this bill – as it is currently constructed – would place on the packaging industry and our member companies, which is why we have been working with the authors and the Newson Administration since last fall on a set of amendments to smooth the transition if passed, including a five-year extension on the bill, from 2030 to 2035, in order for manufacturers to replace or reconfigure their equipment.

Additionally, we have proposed a set of amendments that recognizes that current packaging is designed to both extend the shelf life of fresh produce, which avoids food waste and limits organic waste methane emissions, and protect the safety of the products.

SB 54 is currently on the Assembly Floor awaiting additional amendments. WG is fully engaged in the process, and will alert our members if the final package does not sufficiently address our concerns. In the meantime, we encourage our members to contact their state representatives to express any concerns about the potential impact of the bill on their operations.

For questions or additional information about SB 54, please contact Gail Delihant at [email protected] or (916) 446-1435.