SAN DIEGO—California recyclers, frustrated by stagnant end markets for post-consumer plastics, are urging the state's plastics industry to take responsibility for the recyclability of their products.
State recycling officials outlined obstacles and potential solutions to achieving a statewide 25 percent plastics recycling goal at the annual California Resource Recovery Association conference, held May 3-6 in San Diego.
Concern has grown since January, when the California Integrated Waste Management Board found that the state failed to meet a 25 percent plastic recycling mandate in 1996.
CRRA members argued that California's recycling law fails to require plastic packaging manufacturers to use only recyclable and marketable materials in production. As a result, many municipalities are left with mounds of plastic that either cannot be recycled or lack adequate markets, such as PVC and colored PET.
``Currently, the laws in California are focused on supply and collecting materials to meet our 25 percent rate,'' said Rick Best, policy director for Californians Against Waste. ``That is certainly important, but until we create the demand, we're not closing the loop on recycling.''
Best drafted a bill that was introduced to the state Legislature and would require manufacturers to use 50 percent post-consumer plastic in their packaging by 2003, 65 percent by 2006 and 80 percent by 2010.
The bill is in the Natural Resources Committee, Best said.
CRRA members also expressed concern about a proposal to expand the types of plastic included in municipal recycling programs, materials they say have few or no post-consumer markets.