A California legislative committee cleared a bill on recycled content in trash bags in a 9-0 vote March 16, eight months after halting an earlier version.
One California film extruder, Ironclad Inc., still objects to the bill.
As amended, Senate Bill 698 ``sets overall recycling goals and lets manufacturers decide how best to meet the goals,'' Assemblywoman Debra Bowen said in a telephone interview.
The Torrance, Calif., Democrat chairs the Assembly's Natural Resources Committee and had stopped the bill July 7 until changes were made.
A complicated formula in the 1997 proposal directed how companies would use quantities of recycled plastics in their bags and allowed credit for the California requirement from material used elsewhere in the country.
The simpler, amended bill, applying only to trash bag sales in California, gives manufacturers two ways to comply:
Use 10 percent post-consumer plastic in all bags with a thickness of at least 0.7 mils.
Use an amount of post-consumer plastic equaling at least 30 percent of all plastic products the manufacturer sells in the state. Any post-consumer content required by law in other products may not count toward the 30 percent requirement.
``If we had to do it over, we wouldn't single out trash bags for a separate law,'' Bowen said.
SB 698 supporters include First Brands Corp. of Danbury, Conn.; Poly-America Inc. of Grand Prairie, Texas; Tenneco Inc.'s packaging group of Lake Forest, Ill.; and the California Film Extruders & Converters Association of Corona del Mar, Calif.
The amendments prompted two Sacramento, Calif.-based environmental groups, Californians Against Waste and the Planning and Conservation League, to withdraw their opposition to the bill.
Ironclad, which has plants in Tustin, Calif., and Shreveport, La., operates with a variance as a manufacturer of bags with heat-affixed straps.
SB 698 allows continuation of the variance from the California Integrated Waste Management Board through Dec. 31, but denies any opportunity for Ironclad to obtain an extension.
Jerry Smith, Ironclad executive vice president and chief operating officer, asked the committee for more time but was rebuffed.
Next, the Appropriations Committee will hear SB 698, and the full Assembly may vote within weeks. The Senate must concur, but backers do not anticipate resistance.
The bill will become law upon the governor's signature, provided that a two-thirds vote is achieved in each legislative chamber.