Califormia lawmakers have failed to act on a pair of plastics bills, SB 54/AB 1080, known jointly as the California Circular Economy and Plastic Pollution Reduction Act, before adjourning last week on the last day of its 2019 session. If passed, the two bills would have mandated a statewide 75% reduction of the waste generated from single-use packaging and “priority single-use products” sold in the state through source reduction, recycling or composting. State lawmakers adjourned without acting on the legislation because the two bills did not have enough votes to pass.
In recent weeks, the scope of these bills had been narrows with priority single use products being defined as “single-use food service ware, including plates, bowls, cups, utensils, stirrers, and straws” and excluding “medical products, as well as products defined as medical devices and prescription drugs as specified in the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.”
The failure of this bill to advance before the end of the legislative session is recognized as a temporary setback for bill supporters, and the bill authors intend to push the legislation again in January 2020. The California legislation is considered the most aggressive or more than 30 state and local proposed bills that would also impact the use of disposal of single-use plastics. These efforts are partially in response to China's decision to lessen the amount of waste it accepts from the U.S. as well as concerns over plastic litter impacting marine life.While it is unclear what impact any of these proposed laws would have on nonwoven-based disposable products like baby diapers and wipes, the industry, led by INDA, association of the nonwoven fabrics industry, has been closely monitoring these efforts.
Meanwhile, the EU Parliament has already established a single-use plastics directive that will impose strick labeling and disposal regulations on many single use products with the aim of creating a circular economy in the European Union.