Mike Rogge

Mandatory Recycled Content Packaging Bill Proposed

By Mike Rogge

Capitol Update, May 22, 2015 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

Legislation has been introduced that would require all food and beverage packaging made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic to contain a minimum of 10 percent post-consumer recycled content (PCR) as of July 1, 2016. AB 1447 by Assembly Member Luis Alejo (D-Watsonville) would place this requirement only on companies that manufacture or fill product in California, essentially penalizing in-state manufacturing of food and beverages.  

Currently, PET plastic material collected for recycling is used as feedstock for a variety of end use markets – for example, packaging, textile products, strapping and carpet manufacturing. Imposing an artificial mandate would divert this material away from these established markets that have already invested heavily in the recycling infrastructure. Furthermore, it is not clear whether there is sufficient reclamation capacity available in California to meet this mandate.

Cal Recycle lacks sufficient staffing and resources to implement the Rigid Plastic Packaging Container (RPPC) program. AB 1447 would create a new parallel program for approximately 15 billion PET food and beverage containers that will at least double the administrative costs to merely replicate the lackluster monitoring and enforcement in the RPPC program. Compliance reporting for multistate manufacturers and distributors of food and beverage PET containers would be a time-consuming and costly nightmare.

It does not appear to be fiscally prudent to add another costly requirement to CalRecycle’s workload when it is seeking new state funding in an effort to implement its current RPPC mandate.

CMTA has taken an oppose position on AB 1447. The bill is currently on the Assembly Appropriations Committee’s Suspense list and its fate will likely be divulged on Friday, May 29th.

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