By Kaeley Sterkel
Over the recent months California has become the nation’s most motivated state to put forth effort to stopping plastic pollution. This monumental title is important because it shows the rest of the country that change is happening, and positive efforts are valuable. This title was given to California from the creation of the Plastic Pollution Producer Responsibility Act
(CA SB 54).
What is the Plastic Pollution Producer Responsibility Act?
This act was signed into effect this past June and is the world’s largest Extended Producer Responsibility program. The act focuses on reducing plastic waste and limits the free range over the plastic packaging industry. These industries include manufacturers of single-use packaging or plastic single-use service ware, retailers or wholesalers that sell single-use packaging and many more. The main purpose is to implement a source reduction, collection, processing, and recovery for environmentally harmful plastics so there is little to no pollution. This law will require all single use foodware and packaging be recyclable or compostable by 2032.
Why Is This Good?
This act will be essential for all the wildlife that makes up California from the mountains to the oceans. There will be a significant decrease in animal entanglement and toxicity levels in the ocean will plummet. California has a huge impact on the country’s economy so when there is a change in the packaging other states will change as well to continue business. Even the companies who are unable to make the transition will still have to pay $500 million a year towards environmental efforts.
What Can We Do To Move It Faster?
This step is a giant win that should be celebrated but the movement and fight never stops for environmental justice. It is said that the biggest change will not happen until 2032, that is 10 years away. This slow movement is meant to help those companies who are having to make these changes be able to adapt without going out of business. It is also so that the community can catch up to the idea of no longer having single use plastics. Something that can be done to change this is to have more educational outlets, whether it is a core class in the classrooms or a course that businesses need to implement so that everyone knows the harmful impact that plastic has on the earth. Once people are educated on the topic it is easier for society as a whole to accept it.