California overhauls recycling with plastic pollution and beverage container reforms

State enters critical phase of nation-leading circular economy rules 

Office of Public Affairs
For Immediate Release: March 8, 2024
News Release #2024-03
Media Contact: Lance Klug
916-341-6293 |

SACRAMENTO – Taking action to address growing global plastic pollution while spurring innovation and job creation, California is launching new recycling regulations, reforms and funding to reduce single-use plastic waste in our state through cutting-edge technology. 

Paving the path for a circular-use economy that reuses materials and products for as long as possible, California today released draft regulations for the country’s strongest requirements for producers to cut single-use plastic waste and ensure the packaging on products they sell is recyclable or compostable. California also will soon enter formal rulemaking for another groundbreaking law to expand beverage container redemption with innovative technology and partnerships.  

“For decades, plastics have been falsely advertised as recyclable — while really being designed to be thrown away,” said Yana Garcia, California’s Secretary for Environmental Protection. “This growing source of trash ends up in our landfills or, too often, polluting our most vulnerable communities. That’s why California is taking nation-leading action to hold plastic producers accountable, protect our environment and communities, and build solutions to deliver on the promise of recycling.” 

Additionally, CalRecycle has announced $55 million in grants supporting technology solutions and workforce development for the future of recycling in California. 

Nation’s toughest rules for single-use packaging and plastic recycling 

Packaging makes up over 50% of what California throws away. California’s Plastic Pollution Prevention and Packaging Producer Responsibility Act (SB 54, Allen, Chapter 75, Statutes of 2022) institutes the nation’s strongest requirements for producers to cut disposable plastic packaging and food ware, then recycle the rest. 

This landmark law requires that by 2032, industry must: 

  • Sell 25% less single-use plastic packaging and food ware in the state. 
  • Make all single-use packaging and plastic food ware recyclable or compostable. 
  • Recycle 65% of single-use plastic packaging and food ware. 

The law also creates a fund that will raise $5 billion from industry members for the state to address plastic pollution in communities most impacted by plastic pollution. 

Today starts the formal rulemaking process for CalRecycle, which will receive public comments on the SB 54 rules for a minimum 45-day period. CalRecycle will also hold a hearing for public comments on the draft regulations. 

Retailer cooperatives recycling sites  

Spurring business innovation to make recycling more convenient, SB 1013 (Atkins, Chapter 610, Statutes of 2022) gives beverage retailers in areas with no recycling centers the choice to either redeem in-store or join a cooperative recycling program. The law removes the option for retailers to pay a $100 daily fee instead of redeeming. 

The law and draft regulations posted today will bring more recycling sites to the state with new ways to redeem, including mobile recycling centers, reverse vending machines and recycling drop-off stations. The public may submit comments on the draft rules after they are published by the Office of Administrative Law. 

Join CalRecycle’s Beverage Container Recycling Center Listserv to receive email updates on SB 1013 implementation. 

Join CalRecycle’s SB 54 Listserv for email updates on the implementation process.

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CalRecycle provides oversight of California solid waste handling and recycling programs to protect human health, develop sustainable solutions that conserve resources, and reduce greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.