✅ Truth in recycling

Recycling symbol
Illustration by Anne Wernikoff, CalMatters; iStock

By Sameea Kamal

WHAT THE BILL WOULD DO

SB 343 restricts what kinds of plastic packaging can tout the triangular symbol known as “chasing arrows” under the state’s truth-in-advertising law. Under the bill, CalRecycle would get to decide what’s deemed “recyclable.” 

WHO SUPPORTS IT

Environmentalist groups including California’s Sierra Club and the National Stewardship Action Council support the bill as one of several efforts to reduce plastic and waste.

WHO’S OPPOSED

The plastics industry says the bill could pile waste in landfills and raise packaging costs, especially for packaging that ships to different states with different laws. Based on industry concerns, the bill was amended to give packaging producers more time to update labeling.

WHY IT MATTERS

At least 85% of single-use plastics in California do not actually get recycled, and wind up in the landfill. Some argue that the bill would increase costs to Californians. Environmentalists argue that they’re already paying the price: Local garbage collection rates are escalating because non-recyclables and recyclables are mixed together in the blue bins, requiring more sifting and sorting at recycling plants.

GOVERNOR’S CALL:

Newsom signed the bill on Oct. 5, issuing a statement which read, in part: “With today’s action and bold investments to transform our recycling systems, the state continues to lead the way to a more sustainable and resilient future for the planet and all our communities.”