Home>Articles>AB 881 to Allow ‘Truly Recyclable Plastic’ to be Counted Towards Recycling Goals

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

AB 881 to Allow ‘Truly Recyclable Plastic’ to be Counted Towards Recycling Goals

‘California has long relied on exporting plastic material to meet waste diversion goals’

By Chris Micheli, October 6, 2021 4:01 pm

On October 5, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law Assembly Bill 881 by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), dealing with plastic recycling. Section One of the bill adds Section 41781.4 to the Public Resources Code to provide that the export of a mixture of plastic wastes does not constitute diversion through recycling and is considered disposal for purposes of existing recycling law.

In addition, plastic waste export that is a mixture of plastic wastes does not constitute diversion through recycling and is not to be considered disposal if it meets both of the following criteria:

  • The plastic waste export is a mixture of plastic wastes consisting of polyethylene, polypropylene, or polyethylene terephthalate and the export is destined for separate recycling of each material.
  • The plastic waste export is not prohibited by an applicable law or treaty of the country of destination and the import of the plastic waste into the country of destination will be conducted in accordance with all applicable laws and treaties of the country of destination.

This section also defines the term “export” to mean export out of the country. However, until January 1, 2024, or the expiration of a relevant trade agreement or arrangement with Canada or Mexico, whichever is later, “export” does not include export to Canada or Mexico.

Section Two of the bill amends Public Resources Code Section 41821.5 to require that information in certain reports must include the jurisdiction or region of origin for exported materials that are a mixture of plastic wastes. However, this requirement does not apply to plastic waste consisting of only plastic resin 1, 2, or 5, or a mixture of plastic waste consisting only of a combination of those resins.

The department is required to make publicly available information on the jurisdiction or region of origin and tonnage information for exported materials that are a mixture of plastic wastes.

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3 thoughts on “AB 881 to Allow ‘Truly Recyclable Plastic’ to be Counted Towards Recycling Goals

  1. With all the major issues facing California, Democrat Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez focuses on the export of a mixture of plastic wastes? There must have been a payoff for her somewhere in that legislation that she peddled?

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