SACRAMENTO— In the final week of session, the California Legislature failed to pass legislation aimed at reducing and recycling single use products and packaging.
Senate Bill 54 (Allen, Skinner, Stern, Wiener) and Assembly Bill 1080 (Gonzalez, Calderon, Friedman, Ting), companion measures known jointly as the California Circular Economy and Pollution Reduction Act, would have required manufacturers and producers to reduce product and packaging waste by 75% by 2030 through source reduction, recycling, and composting.
Despite tremendous support from the public and over 140+ organizations, including leading environmental, public health, labor, local government, waste hauler, faith-based, and business groups, the measures faced significant opposition from the plastics industry and packaging manufacturers. Without assurance of 21 votes in the State Senate and 41 votes in the Assembly, the bills were held over by the authors for consideration when the legislature returns in January.
“This plastic pollution crisis is too pressing to put off for another year, so it’s really disappointing that the opposition’s disingenuous hyperbole was able to sway the legislature,” said Nick Lapis, Director of Advocacy of Californians Against Waste. “I think the public response to these bills has sent a strong signal that Californians want their legislators to take decisive action to turn the tide on plastic pollution.”
The measures were subject to intense and deceptive lobbying tactics by plastic packaging manufacturers and the California Manufacturers and Technology Association (CMTA). Novolex, one of the nation’s largest manufacturers plastic bags and grocery sector packaging, created and funded the misleadingly named “Californians for Recycling and the Environment” which funded a deceptive social media campaign targeting members of the California legislature.
Similarly, CMTA distributed an anonymous Floor Alert to members of the legislature that appeared to convey support for non-controversial recycling related measures for which CMTA had no interest or position, while expressing opposition to SB 54/AB1080.
“It’s telling that Plastics and Packaging Interests felt it necessary to deceive members of the legislature and disguise the source of lobbying efforts and resources in an effort to defeat California’s bold plastic pollution legislation,” said Mark Murray, Executive Director of Californians Against Waste.
The bills also enjoyed engagement from celebrities who chimed in on social media for a final push on Friday, including Jason Momoa, Jeff Goldblum, Kelly Slater, Jeff Bridges, and Alicia Silverstone.
These high-profile environmental bills will be eligible for a vote next year in January when the Legislature reconvenes for the second half of the 2019-2020 legislative sessions.
A number of other recycling related bills did pass the Legislature in the final week and now sit on the governor’s desk awaiting a signature. These include:
- AB 792 (Ting) – Mandates manufacturers to use recycled content in plastic beverage containers, starting with 10% by 2021 and scaling up to 50% by 2030. These standards are the most ambitious in the world, surpassing the European Union’s mandates for recycled content maxing out at 30% by 2028.
- AB 1583 (Eggman) – The California Recycling Market Development Act creates a “Statewide Commission on Recycling Markets and Curbside Recycling” to oversee statewide messaging on recyclability product redesign. The bill also reauthorized the Recycling Market Development Zone (RMDZ) loan program and the California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority (CAEATFA), which provided sales tax exemptions for recycling and remanufacturing equipment. AB 1583 also eliminated an existing requirement to for all plastic products to have the “chasing arrows” symbol,
- AB 827 (McCarty) – Requires businesses to make composting and recycling bins accessible to customers wherever they have trash bin.
- AB 614 (Eggman) – Expands the Farm to Food Bank tax credit beyond fresh produce to include other staples such as rice, beans, eggs, nuts, and other goods.
- AB 1162 (Kalra) – Prohibits the distribution of single-use toiletries at lodging establishments.
- AB 619 (Chiu) – Allows customers to bring their own reusable foodservice items to restaurants and temporary food facilities.
- AB 187 (C. Garcia) – Updates the Used Mattress Recycling Act to increase consumer access to convenient recycling for used mattresses, including expanding free mattress pickup for consumers that purchases mattress online.
- AB 729 (Chu) – Revises the Carpet Recycling Act to ensure that all funds collected pursuant to the program are used to fund recycling.
These remaining 8 bills must be approved by Governor Newsom before October 13th.
About Californians Against Waste: Founded in 1977, CAW is a non-profit environmental research and advocacy organization that identifies, develops, promotes and monitors policy solutions to pollution and conservation issues that pose threats to public health and the environment. CAW has pioneered and advocated for the implementation of many of the waste reduction and recycling policies and programs that have made California a leader in the nation
Greenpeace partnered with Protecting Kaho’olawe ‘Ohana (PKO) and Kaho’olawe Island Reserve Commission (KIRC) to do a beach cleanup and brand audit at Kanapou beach on Kaho’olawe Island, Hawaii.
Plastic pollution is a crisis: it fills our waterways, streets, and homes, harming wildlife and human health. Microplastics and toxins from making plastic are often in the air we breathe and the water we drink. Our understanding of the devastating effects of plastic on communities and the environment is growing—and so is the understanding that the only way to stop this is to make less plastic. Yet the global plastic production and packaging industries are planning to expand production of new plastic by nearly 40% in the next few years.
The good news is we can fight back! Much of plastic polluting our communities comes clearly branded with a company name, which means we can hold these companies accountable. Members of the Break Free From Plastic movement from around the world have come together to expose these brands for their reckless packaging habits. On World Cleanup Day in 2018, thousands of volunteers in hundreds of cities reported the brands found in their local parks, streets, and shorelines. We used the data to highlight exactly how some of the world’s biggest and best known companies are wrecking the planet. Based on the audit results, we identified the 2018 top polluters: Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and Nestle.
Companies like Nestle are starting to respond. They see that their packaging practices are quickly becoming outdated and unpopular. They have started to make promises to reduce their plastic pollution impact, but the short-sighted options big companies are putting forward are a long way from the complete change in packaging methods that we urgently need. And we need to keep the pressure on.
So this year we plan to go even bigger—that’s where you come in.
Plastic wastes are sorted according to its type and brand during the clean-up drive and brand audit as part of efforts for Cebu to break free from plastic in Lahug River, Cebu City
Have you ever picked up a piece of trash off the ground and noticed the brand on its label before putting it in the bin? The brand audit is just doing that, but with a few more people and a good plan. By adding a brand audit to your community cleanup, you can help us hold corporate polluters accountable for their plastic pollution. After all, we can clean forever—or reduce once.
Everything you need to know about how to plan and do a brand audit can be found in the Break Free From Plastic brand audit toolkit. In the weeks leading up to World Cleanup Day on September 21, we invite you to consider planning a cleanup and brand audit in a nearby beach, river shore, or stream; the streets around your neighborhood; a local park; or even in your own home, school, or office! So if you’re not able to get your gloves on and pick up waste outside, you can still show corporations that you expect them to be doing more to stop plastic pollution.
Join thousands of people from around the world by adding a brand audit to your cleanup this September. Please be sure to register your event, and join the growing global movement to #BreakFreeFromPlastic!
#Break Free from Plastic is written on the beach using collected bottle caps.
Greenpeace Southeast Asia conducts clean up and plastic brand audit activity at Wonnapa beach, Chonburi province on World Cleanup Day. The activity aims to call on the corporations to take responsibility for the plastic pollution problem caused by plastic packaging.
The brand audit is a part of Break Free From Plastic movement. The activity is organised in more than 150 cities to incorporate data on corporate plastic pollution found in communities across the world.
-Emma Priestland is the corporate campaign coordinator for Break Free From Plastic.
International #breakfreefromplastic movement strategy conference in Bangkok in July 2019 with over 120 leaders from 25 countries. The meetings were facilitated by OAEC Executive Director, Dave Henson.
Since its launch in September 2016, nearly 1,500 organizations from across the world have joined the Break Free From Plastic (BFFP) movement to demand massive reductions in single-use plastics and to push for lasting solutions to the plastic pollution crisis. These organizations share the common values of environmental protection and social justice, which guide their work at the community level and represent a global, unified vision.
For the past two years, OAEC’s Executive Director Dave Henson has served as a lead facilitator and strategy consultant for BFFP US and for BFFP Global convenings. Dave recently facilitated a BFFP global strategy meeting in Thailand, and is prepping to facilitate the BFFP US national strategy meeting next month. Dave brings to this work decades of experience co-convening and facilitating strategy development for social justice and environmental movements. He is optimistic because of how nearly universally people feel that ‘we don’t need all this plastic!’
OAEC is excited to work with the BFFP movement because it is focusing on addressing the plastic pollution problem at the point of production. Yes, each of us can choose to reduce the amount of plastic we buy and use, and we all can be much better at recycling those types of plastic that actually can and will be recycled, but this crisis will not be solved by “consumer action”. Half of the plastic that has ever existed was made since 2005. The fossil fuel extraction industry and chemical manufactures are planning to double again plastic production by 2025 with an influx of raw materials supplied by new fracking operations. That is unacceptable. BFFP seeks to keep fossil fuels in the ground and to force companies to dramatically reduce – not expand – the amount of plastic being produced.
BFFP groups focusing on the plastic pollution end of the supply chain, including stopping plastic incineration and plastic dumping into our oceans and waterways, are standing together with groups on the frontlines of extraction. Likewise, groups fighting against gas and oil fracking, petrochemical processing, and plastic manufacturing are getting behind campaigns like Zero Waste Communities and winning municipal bans on single-use plastic. Together, we are coordinating our strategy and unifying the messaging towards our perspective, very different audiences.
Shifting the Narrative Workshop at OAEC
In August 2019 here at OAEC, #breakfreefromplastic Senior Communications Officer Shilpi Chhotray and Lauren Moore of UPSTREAM organized an “Environmental Justice Culture Hack” storytelling workshop geared at highlighting the stories of frontline communities who are feeling the toxic impacts of plastic pollution at every level of the supply chain. The workshop, led by the Center for
Story Based Strategy, brought together environmental justice organizers with communications strategists. The goal is to creatively shift the narrative of plastics as a “litter” problem focused on individual responsibility to a story of corporate accountability for the gross injustices of oil extraction and manufacturing of fossil fuel-based products. Ultimately, colonialism and the excesses of capitalism are at the root of the fight against plastics.
Compelling examples of this narrative shift were shared throughout the gathering. Stiv Wilson, movement strategist and documentary filmmaker with Story of Stuff opened with a sneak preview of the new, soon-to-be-released documentary Story of Plastic. Shilpi Chhotray presented some of the top trending graphics, memes, and hashtags such as the simple “straws to pipelines” gif shown at the top and all the images included in this post. Check out #breakfreefromplastic’s instagram stories for interviews of environmental justice activists whoparticipated in the gathering, including Yvette Arellano from T.E.J.A.S., Ponca Nation elder Casey Horineck, Whitney Amaya of East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice, Tricia Cortez of Rio Grande International Study Center and others.
One of #breakfreefromplasic’s social media success stories has been the highly influential brand audit campaign. Launched last year, environmental groups conducting beach clean-ups around the world were asked to take methodical records of which brands were most prevalent and post pictures with the hashtag #isthisyours?. Not only was the social media reach of the images off-the-charts, the detailed report that BFFP generated based on the data revealed the names of top polluters including Unilever, Nestle, Proctor and Gamble, and PepsiCo – traceable proof of who is responsible.
According to BFFP member organization GAIA (Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives), “This research provides new quantitative evidence to support the global call for the plastics industry and manufacturing companies to immediately reduce and eventually stop producing single-use plastics as the primary solution to end plastic pollution.” BFFP and member groups have presented this report to the heads corporations and have the following demands – the 3 R’s Reveal, Reduce, and Reinvent!
Ok, so recycling isn’t enough. How can I do more?
1) Educate yourself. These mini-documentaries by Story of Stuff are a great place to start. Go deeper with these articles by Center for International Environmental Law. We highly recommend the Just Transition framework beautifully described and dreamed up by the amazing folks at Climate Justice Alliance and our friends at Movement Generation.
2) Follow the leadership of frontline communities. Your solidarity is especially effective when you take collective action around issues effecting your home bioregion.
3) Vote. Support legislation and candidates that hold polluters accountable.
4) Aspire to live “throw-away-free” and use your creativity to imagine and promote what Zero Waste could look like in your household, business or community. Zero Waste is not just for rich people!
5) Participate in or lead a local brand audit.
6) Join the conversation by following #breakfreefromplastic on instagram, twitter, or facebook and share your story!
Article Originally posted on Occidental Arts and Ecology Center. All images courtesy of #breakfreefromplastic.
Maybe you’ve seen a tweet about it. Maybe you’ve heard your friends talking about how they did something about it last weekend. Maybe you’re just really tired of seeing the evidence of it all over your home or office, neighborhood streets, or nearby shorelines.
“What’s all this about corporate accountability, anyway?”
Plastic pollution is a crisis: it visibly pollutes our waterways, streets, and homes, harming wildlife and human health. Microplastics and toxins from production are often in the air we breathe and the water we drink. And yet the global plastic production and packaging industries are planning to expand production of new plastic by nearly 40% in the next five years. The corporations responsible for plastic pollution are not nameless—in fact, they have some of the most recognizable brands in the world.
Local people are coming up with solutions to get food and care products without packaging, and to move their neighborhoods toward zero waste. But across the world, communities are reporting that more and more unmanageable and unrecyclable plastic is being sold at local shops. Flexible pouches and sachets are now everywhere, replacing materials that used to be easily refilled or even just recycled.
Much of this plastic ends up in our homes and the environment with a clear brand stamped on it, as corporations have assumed for a long time that it was safe to produce plastic, put their names all over it, and force it into our homes and shops. Members of the Break Free From Plastic movement from the Global South and Global North have come together to expose these brands for their reckless packaging habits. On World Cleanup Day in 2018, thousands of volunteers in hundreds of cities reported the brands found in their local parks, streets, and shorelines. (Learn more about what they found here.) Earlier this year, these same groups revealed the plastic monster these brands have created but can’t run away from.
Companies like Nestle and Unilever are starting to respond. They see that their packaging practices are quickly becoming outdated and unpopular. But the short-sighted options they’re putting forward are not yet real solutions for reinventing the way they deliver food and other goods. People around the world are still fighting to protect their health and their local environments from the scourge of plastic pollution.
This is where you come in
Doing a brand audit is a simple way to hang out with your friends and do your bit for the planet. Have you ever picked up a piece of trash off the ground and noticed the brand on its label before putting it in the bin? The brand audit is just that, but with a few neighbors and a bit of a plan.
Everything you need to know about how to plan and do a brand audit can be found in the brand audit toolkit. In the weeks leading up to World Cleanup Day on September 21, we invite you to explore these ideas for where you can collect waste and audit it:
- The streets around your neighborhood
- A local park
- A nearby beach, river shore, or stream
- Your own home, school, or office
That’s right—you can do a brand audit right from home! So if you’re not able to get your gloves on and pick up outside, you can still show corporations that you expect them to be doing more to stop plastic pollution.
Isn’t September 21st during the global climate strike?
Plastic pollution and climate are inextricably linked. With the planned increase in new production, by 2050 plastics could take up more than 10% of the remaining carbon budget. That’s an enormous climate impact from a single product.
The climate strike is about holding corporations and governments accountable to their obligation to lead on real solutions to climate change. The brand audit project has similar goals, targeting some of the same industries. So we’re inviting people who are striking for the climate anywhere in the world to add a plastic pollution brand audit to their activities. Leading a brand audit is a great way to simultaneously clean up your local environment, make a statement about climate change, and show corporations that you expect better from them.
Join us and thousands of people from dozens of countries by adding a brand audit to your cleanup or climate activities this September.
Jane Patton has been a campaigner, advocate, and interim coordinator in the Break Free From Plastic movement. She is soon to join the Center for International Environmental Law to continue her work on the future for global policy on plastics.
On August 22, at a meeting with representatives of 11 ministries and branches to discuss measures to strictly control the import of used goods and re-export of imported scrap cargo violating regulations, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Vo Tuan Nhan suggested that ministries and agencies focus on reviewing regulations on used goods banned from import and goods allowed to be conditionally imported; Strictly handle organizations and individuals that import used goods on the list of goods banned from import or import used goods that do not meet the prescribed requirements.
Reporting at the meeting, Mr. Hoang Van Thuc, Deputy General Director of Vietnam Environment Administration, said that implementing the Directive No. 27 / CT-TTg of the Prime Minister, last timeThe General Department of Customs has applied measures to remotely prevent shipments of imported scrap that do not meet the provisions of Vietnamese law; The batch of imported scrap cargo without information of the goods owner or the owner of the goods that are not on the list of organizations and individuals that have been issued with a certificate/certificate of eligibility for environmental protection in import of scrap shall not are brought into the territory of Vietnam. In cases where imported scrap shipments of establishments that have been issued with Certification are lowered into ports and determined not to meet QCVN, the importing establishments must fulfill the responsibility for re-exporting the goods lots. With these regulations, after September 17, 2018, basically restricting the backlog of goods that no shippers can receive.
Mr. Hoang Van Thuc, Deputy Director General of Vietnam Environment Administration spoke at the meeting
By the end of June 2019, for the re-export of violated scrap shipments, which are ineligible to be imported into Vietnam, the local Customs authorities have asked shipping lines to transport them. out of Vietnam territory 503 containers. Including 289 containers of plastic scrap, 106 containers of paper scrap, 98 containers of iron and steel scrap and 10 other scrap containers. In the coming time, the Vietnam Environment Administration will coordinate with ministries, branches, and localities to continue handling the outstanding containers at ports in the territory of Vietnam.
The representative of the General Department of Customs said that, in order to completely handle the remaining containers, it is necessary to classify scrap according to criteria and determine that waste will require goods owners to transport out of the territory. However, shipping lines’ re-export operations are very slow. The General Department of Customs proposes that if shipping lines are delayed in transporting shipments that do not meet environmental protection requirements out of the Vietnamese territory, the Ministry of Transport shall not grant further permits to shipping lines.
According to the representative of the Ministry of Public Security, in order to strictly control the import of used goods and re-export the imported consignments of scrap, the ministries should unify to build and perfect the system of documents. legal documents, avoiding individuals and units taking advantage of loopholes to violate the law on the import of scrap and goods not meeting environmental regulations; equipped with quick inspection facilities for customs authorities to control at ports; mechanisms for agencies to coordinate closely to minimize loopholes legally.
The Ministry of Science and Technology proposes that it is necessary to use the exact word radioactive waste and not radioactive waste; Amendment of the standards referring to radioactive scraps more suitable to reality should be specified in the form of using specialized tools for on-site control.
Overview of the meeting
Speaking at the meeting, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Vo Tuan Nhan said that the positive signal was initially recorded when the local customs authorities asked shipping lines to move out of the territory. Vietnam more than 500 containers. However, the concerned ministries and branches need to consider in order to quickly handle, control as well as limit the negative impacts of scrap cargo shipments that fail to meet environmental requirements; resolutely re-export, do not let unsuitable shipments of scrap enter Vietnam; promote communication and propagation activities in order to prevent violations committed by individuals and organizations.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment requests the Ministry of Finance to review and provide a list of organizations and individuals importing scrap which violates the regulations but fails to carry out re-export procedures and send to the agency certifying the full conditions. to import scrap as raw production materials for consideration and deprivation of the right to use certification. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs shall assume the prime responsibility in studying the experiences of a number of countries in the region in applying international diplomatic experience, practice and precedent to re-export waste goods and goods in violation of regulations. law on environmental protection
In order to strictly control the import of used goods, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment also requests the Ministries based on their assigned functions and tasks to focus on reviewing the regulations on used goods. ban on the import, goods allowed for conditional import; clarify responsibilities and strictly handle organizations and individuals that import used goods on the list of goods banned from import or import used goods which do not meet the prescribed requirements.
Based on the regulations on the import of used goods, the enforcement, inspection, supervision, and control of imported goods are within the scope and authority of the customs authorities, therefore, it is necessary to review them. measures to control and control risks and propose measures to strengthen strict control in the clearance of used goods. At the same time, within the management of the ministries, it is necessary to develop sanctions to handle violations of the regulations on import and ban on the import of used goods.
Article from Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.