California AB 793: Your questions answered!
APR President and CEO Steve Alexander answers questions about a new law in California that sets minimum post-consumer resin content requirements for plastic bottles.
What is AB-793?
AB 793 is a new law in California, passed unanimously by the California legislature and signed into law by California Governor Gavin Newsom on August 28, 2020, that requires all plastic bottles covered by the state's container redemption program to average at least 15% post-consumer recycled resin starting in 2022. The amount of required post-consumer recycled resin increases to 25% in 2025 and 50% in 2030.The stated purposed of the bill is to grow and strengthen the recycling markets in California by increasing the demand for post-consumer resin (PCR).
The recycled content requirement, particularly the 50% requirement by 2030, could be quite challenging to achieve. Can those requirements be changed?
Yes. The law requires the Director of CalRecycle to adjust the percentages down, if certain market conditions exist. The PCR requirements cannot be adjusted upward.
Did APR support AB 793?
Yes. APR joined the beverage industry, recyclers and reclaimers, and environmental groups in supporting passage of AB 793.APR also provided technical support, on the ground lobbying, and industry data collection to the bill's sponsors, and subsequently sent a letter urging Governor Newsom to sign the bill
Why did APR decide to support the bill?
Market demand is essential to the success of plastics recycling.APR strongly supports efforts to increase collection and supply of postconsumer recycled plastics (PCR) to augment and sustain recycled content initiatives. Mandated PCR content creates market demand, which in turn monetizes the entire waste and recycling management system. AB 793 is a first step to strengthening post-consumer PET markets in the state.
Is this the first time APR supported mandated PCR legislation?
No. In fact, APR was the first plastics related organization to publicly support mandatory recycled content legislation in 2006.
Can the minimum content requirements in AB 793 be met?
While APR believes AB 793 has set realistic goals through 2029, we have concerns about the ability of the beverage and recycling industries and the state to meet the 50% minimum PCR content by 2030.However, as mentioned, the bill does allow for the Director of CalRecycle to lower this requirement if certain market conditions aren't met.
APR will also work with the California legislature and the Governor's office, and with all interested parties, to ensure that funding is provided to make the necessary investment to improve the state's collection infrastructure.
Will similar minimum PRC bills be passed in other states or by Congress?
California is often a bellwether for environmental legislation so we do expect similar bills to be considered by other states and possibly at a federal level by Congress.New Jersey has introduced a similar bill, SB 2515, that is currently being overhauled to model after the California bill.
Will APR support these bills?
APR favors minimum content standards for all plastics packaging, not just bottles, because such requirements will ensure that long term sustainability goals can be met.APR may encourage legislation in California and other states, as well as at the federal level, that would require minimum post-consumer content in other packaging formats and resins.
So what are the next steps?
APR looks forward to continuing to work with California state officials as they implement the law, as well as with consumer brand companies to meet the requirements of the new law as well as their sustainability goals.