California Governor signs mandatory recycled content bill in US first

The United States’ first recycled content requirement for plastic beverage containers will increase collection and supply, expand market demand, says APR.

The Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR) applauds California Governor Gavin Newsom for signing the United States’ first ever recycled content mandate for plastic beverage containers, California Assembly Bill 793.

The law requires all plastic bottles covered by the state’s container redemption programme average at least 15% postconsumer resin (PCR) starting in 2022. The recycled content mandate increases to 25% in 2025 and 50% in 2030.

As the international trade association representing the plastics recycling industry, APR strongly supports efforts to increase collection and supply of postconsumer recycled plastics to augment and sustain recycled content initiatives.

The APR was the first plastics related organisation to publicly support mandatory recycled content legislation in 2006.

Mandated PCR content creates market demand, which in turn monetises the entire waste and recycling management system

“The passage of this bill is a critical step forward,” stated Steve Alexander, President and CEO of the APR. “Mandated PCR content creates market demand, which in turn monetises the entire waste and recycling management system.”

Beverage manufacturers that miss the targets will be subject to penalty fees of 20 cents for each pound of PCR by which they fall short. The money will be deposited into a new “Recycling Enhancement Penalty Account,” and is to be spent on recycling, infrastructure, collection and processing of plastic beverage bottles.

“This is clearly a step in the right direction, but this is only the first step,” said Alexander. “We need to look at more minimum PCR requirements for all plastic packaging.

“APR looks forward to working with consumer brand companies to meet the requirements of this bill as well as their sustainability goals”

The APR supported California Assembly Bill 793 with technical support, on the ground lobbying, industry data collection, and a letter urging Governor Newsom to sign the bill.  Lawmakers gave their final approval of the bill on 30 August.

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