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California State Capitol. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

More Plastic Taxes Coming to a Ballot Near You

If higher taxes were the answer on waste management, we’d already have the cleanest communities in the world

By Katy Grimes, December 14, 2021 2:30 am

In October Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a host of new laws designed to restrict use of plastic utensils, change recycling labels, limit exports of plastic waste, and even boost individual composting. The message to voters was clear: California will lead the battle against consumer waste. Unfortunately for taxpayers, some view that “progress” as an open invitation to push more punitive measures.

At least one waste management company (the same one that just paid $36 million in fines for bribery and corruption) has already bet millions on a ballot initiative that would create a whole new system for deciding which plastic products get banned, which get regulated, and which get taxed.

In theory, a new one-cent “fee” on consumer goods made or packaged with plastic would support recycling. In truth, only half of the money would actually go to the state recycling bureau. The rest gets spread around to various agencies and special interests.

According to the Legislative Analyst’s Office, the tax is expected to bring in a few billion dollars annually. Spent wisely, that’s enough to do a lot of recycling. But we already pay a five- to ten-cent recycling deposit on every bottle and can purchased in California – adding up to at least 60 cents per 12-pack – along with billions more in property taxes to support waste collection, sorting, and disposal.

The new “Plastic Waste Reduction Regulations Initiative” tax would add to that burden by raising the cost of basic goods, like wipes, snacks, diapers, household cleaning supplies, and other everyday items. Local convenience stores, restaurants and pharmacies would be forced to raise prices. Wealthy buyers may not notice the difference, but for families at the lowest end of the economic chain, it’s a needlessly punishing way to raise revenue.

Inflation is already pushing up prices on everything from gas to food, to household items, so it’s easy to wonder why California voters would be asked to approve a tax hike on basic goods.

There is money to be made protecting the environment. Backers of the ballot measure are betting that consumers will vote for any proposal that sounds earth-friendly – rather than read the fine print and demand better solutions to our waste management challenges.

Watch for the “Plastic Waste Reduction Regulations Initiative” and don’t be fooled. Read the fine print.

What would this plastic initiative tax do? According to Ballotpedia:

The ballot initiative would require the California Department of Resources, Recycling, and Recovery (CalRecycle), in consultation with other agencies, to adopt regulations that reduce the use of single-use plastic packaging and foodware, including:[1]

  • requiring producers to ensure that single-use plastic packaging and foodware is recyclable, reusable, refillable, or compostable by 2030;
  • requiring producers to reduce or eliminate single-use plastic packaging or foodware that CalRecycle determines is unnecessary for product or food item delivery;
  • requiring producers to reduce the amount of single-use plastic packaging and foodware sold in California by at least 25 percent by 2030;
  • requiring producers to use recycled content and renewable materials in the production of single-use plastic packaging and foodware;
  • establishing “mechanisms for convenient consumer access to recycling,” including take-back programs and deposits;
  • establishing and enforcing labeling standards to support the sorting of discarded single-use plastic packaging and foodware; and
  • prohibiting food vendors from distributing expanded polystyrene food service containers.

Clean Coasts, Clean Water, Clean Streets, also known as Plastics Free California, is leading the campaign in support of the ballot initiative, and already has a war chest of $4.26 million, Ballotpedia reports.

The tax may start at a penny, but the proposed ballot measure includes language allowing the fee to rise beginning in 2030. Ultimately, it will become just another sales tax, part of the premium cost we all pay to live in California. Cash will flow to special interests that fight to increase the fees. And, as agencies look to shore-up misspent budgets, new goods will be targeted.

If higher taxes were the answer on waste management, we’d already have the cleanest communities in the world. Voters should beware the so-called “Plastic Waste Reduction Regulations Initiative” and instead demand that legislators consider solutions that don’t add to tax burdens on working families.

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7 thoughts on “More Plastic Taxes Coming to a Ballot Near You

  1. I don’t see how anyone can keep a straight face anymore. EVERYTHING is a parody now. “Clean Coasts, Clean Water, Clean Streets” —- is the name of the organization backing this initiative? PLEASE. These people might want to lower their ever-present COVID masks from their eyes, open those eyes wide, and take a good, long look around at our filthy, vagrant-choked CA cities and beaches and acknowledge what’s going on there if they want to even BEGIN to be taken seriously. Don’t you think?

    But apparently they simply don’t CARE if they are taken seriously, do they? Not anymore, not when a series of corrupt A.G.s can title and write ballot initiatives so they sound like the exact opposite of what they really are and when they are spurred on by the reward of more and more $$slush funds$$ for their friends.

    Thanks a million, Katy Grimes, for the heads-up on this one. Maybe with awareness and determination and large numbers, sensible voters can overwhelm the fake-green Dem schemes whose goal is always money and power and control. You never know!

  2. Ah, yes. Once again the political “science” majors running California pretending that they’re engineers and solving a non-problem that engineers should handle (if it were really a problem).

    By the way: the major of political science isn’t really science. It was originally called “government studies”.

  3. People have been investigating the plastic trash out in the ocean and based on currents and the dates on the plastic the only way it is getting out to remote islands as fast as it does would be if the Chinese are dumping our recycling out in the middle of the ocean.

    Recycling on the whole is a total SCAM.

  4. Covid Masks have replaced plastic bags or whatever they say it is — I see masks on the ground now pretty regularity – Am sure they are piling up in oceans where plastic bags or straws were!

    What are the communists going to do about that as this is their way of showing that they are controlling the people.

    California is on middle stage as CCP West and climbing to be fully CCP soon (Newsom is bought by china as was Brown before him)

  5. To tell the truth, from my point of view, this new “Plastic Waste Reduction Regulations Initiative” tax is a truly controversial novelty which has both positive and negative sides. I absolutely agree with you that this Increase in the cost of basic goods can be truly noticeable for low-income families and I think it is really important to take this matter into consideration. I can say that such changes can be tangible to the majority of people and can cause an ambiguous reaction. I’m certain that there are many effective ways to protect our environment and get rid of its pollution, without adding to tax burdens on working families. It is important to come to the most reasonable solution to reduce plastic waste which would not encourage and force people to make such global sacrifices.

  6. In theory, a new one-cent “fee” on regular goods made or packed with plastic would benefit recycling. In reality, only half of the money would generally go to the state recycling agency. The rest gets advanced over to different agencies and special interests. The new “Plastic Waste Reduction Regulations Initiative” tax would include to that strain by lifting the charges of basic goods and other daily items. Local luxury stores, restaurants and pharmacies would be compelled to higher the prices. Wealthy buyers may not observe the difference, but for families at the lowest end of the poverty line, it’s an unfairly punishing way to lift up the revenue. This is how government generates inflation, makes people under poverty line. The wealthy people do not care, they can manage stupid laws that make goods and services price more. Include it and you will notice why good people are walking out the State they cannot incur plastic utensils.

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