One of California's chief legislative advocates for plastic recycling laws, state Sen. Wesley Chesbro, D-Arcata, plans to add an advanced disposal fee to tough new recycled-content legislation he is pushing. Currently, the legislation requires manufacturers of some plastic containers to use recycled content, source reduce or use refillables if the recycling rate falls below targets. But Chesbro wants to broaden the law to include food and cosmetic packaging.
Chesbro's proposal would let container makers pay a per-container fee as another option, said Rick Best, policy director for Californians Against Waste in Sacramento. The fee would support plastics recycling, he said.
Best is drafting the amendment for Chesbro because California allows groups like CAW to sponsor bills. No specifics of the ADF have been set but it is the main change under consideration, he said.
Chesbro's legislation, known as Senate Bill 1110, stalled last year because some legislators questioned putting the requirements on food and cosmetic packaging. Since then, he has been trying to win broader support for the bill.
A spokesman for the Grocery Manufacturers of America, which led the industry coalition against the bill, said the law needs more fundamental reform.
For example, the bill does not let manufacturers combine several strategies, like source reduction and recycled content, said GMA spokesman Lance Hastings.
"The goal is not to punish plastic as a material type, and an ADF is a tax on a material type," Hastings said. "Consumers continue to demand their products in plastic. Where monies ought to be focused is on problems the public is very concerned about."