The state of California is considering what many believe are the toughest plastic pollution law in the country, which, if passed, would require industry to recycle or reduce the amount of single-use plastic packaging used for consumer goods. Currently there are three bills before the California state legislature that addresses the issue of single-use plastics and the massive and widespread pollution that comes from the use of this man-made material. The bills would require companies that sell products found in grocery and fast food restaurants to take most of the responsibility in cutting the amount of plastic waste produced.
If the bill(s) become law, by January 1, 2030, all single-use plastic packaging and food products, such as plates, cutlery, cups, bowls, and straws, would have to be made of recyclable materials or made of materials that can be composted. Secondly, by 2030, the bill would mandate a 75 percent reduction in waste that is created by single use plastic packaging in the state. CalRecycle, the state agency tasked with managing the state’s recycling efforts, would be required to draft the rules by 2024.
“Californians want to recycle,” Mark Murray, executive director of Californians Against Waste, told the San Jose Mercury News. “They want to take responsibility for our waste stream. But the market conditions don’t exist to recycle a lot of these materials. We need manufacturers to step up and take responsibility.”
Industry has opposed the bills, claiming a massive bureaucracy would be created on top of what it sees as a broken recycling system. While many existing containers can be recycled, and there are numbered coding schemes on every recyclable piece of plastic, other items, such as Styrofoam food containers, and milk cartons and juice boxes made of plastic-coated paper, cannot. These items would be banned for sale in the state unless the companies selling them take them back and recycle them, or build them in a way that makes them easily composted.
“We oppose the bills primarily because of the massive bureaucracy that they would set on top of our broken recycling system,” John Hewitt, senior director of state affairs for the Grocery Manufacturers Association, told the Mercury News. The GMA represents food, beverage and consumer product companies. “There’s not a shared responsibility.”
Those opposed to this trio of bills say that industry that uses these types of plastics are already working toward recyclable packaging. Five of the largest such companies in the world: Nestle, Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo, Unilever and Anheuser Busch, have already set a 2025 deadline to make their packaging 100 percent recyclable or compostable, while 80 percent of the largest consumer packaging companies have set a deadline of 2030, according to the Grocery Manufacturing Association, which released a paper called Reduce. Reuse. Confuse. How Best Intentions Have Led to Confusion, Contamination, and a Broken Recycling System in America.
The deadline for these bills is today, September, 13, they will either pass or die for the year.
Clean Our Oceans Project announced it is working with SESOU Nature Source, a manufacturer of plant and mineral-based products such as soaps, shampoos, sanitizers, toothpaste and other home use products, to help the company ’s customers reduce the accumulation of plastic packaging by upcycling SESOU Nature Source packaging. The partners will help turn that packaging into durable goods such as school chairs and garbage bins.
Clean Our Oceans Project will place blue recycling bins in The SESOU Nature Source Alabang Town Center store and will further roll out bins at the following locations:
Customers of the environmentally responsible company should bring empty, clean and dry SESOU bottles to the stores for upcycling.
Below is the process of how the used plastics should be returned:
a. Empty all contents (including Gugo Bark, when applicable). Keep labels intact.
b. Rinse well under running water
c. Air-dry completely
d. Collect in a cloth bag or sack
COOP will collect these cleaned plastics weekly from the stores and will deliver these plastics to the upcycling facility. Both entities have agreed to embark on a social media campaign to highlight the efforts of both COOP and SESOU Nature Source.
“We applaud SESOU Nature Source in taking the initiative to work with COOP in an effort to keep plastics away from the oceans and landfills,” said Anna Varona, founder of COOP. “It is a step in a positive direction and we hope that more companies will join us in helping to keep our oceans clean.”
Clean, dry and segregated plastics are used to manufacture utilitarian products such as crates, school chairs, tables, monoblock-type chairs and recycling bins. The circular economy is complete by bringing the plastics back to humans for reuse, providing livelihood and keeping plastics away from the oceans and landfills.
Congressman Rufino B. Biazon, representative of the Lone District of Muntinlupa City, has introduced a bill that would require companies that produce plastic products and packaging to label those plastics according to the plastic resins used to make the materials. The Plastics Labelling Act of 2019 is similar in scope to what occurs in the United States and elsewhere, where numbers and a triangle symbol are added to plastics to help determine what those plastics are comprised of (polyvinyl chloride, polypropylene, etc.) and how they can be recycled or upcycled. These numbers are from the ASTM International Resin Identification Coding System.
“Clearly, there is a need to put into place a system that would hasten the management and disposal of plastic products in order to minimize their harmful impact on the environment,” Biazon said in the explanatory note of the bill that he will introduce during the 18th Congress, First Regular Session. “The labelling of plastic products before they come out of the factories is envisioned to help achieve this objective. In this manner, it is hoped that post-consumer plastic products will be easier to sort according to what may be recycled and what may already be considered waste.”
The Plastics Labelling Act of 2019 would require manufacturers to label their plastics with a number from 1 to 7 based on the type of plastic, inside arrows that comprise a triangle shape. A ban would take effect for plastics that are not labelled accordingly and fines would be assessed for violating the provisions of the act.
Coop’s Take: This is a much needed and necessary bill. The Philippines is the world’s third largest polluter of plastic waste, according to The Wall Street Journal, and labeling these plastics is a first step in getting more plastics out of the oceans and landfills and into a recycling/upcycling stream. We support this bill and hope that you will too.
Wyeth Nutrition recently invited Clean Our Oceans Project to give a workshop to its employees in hopes of gaining insight into how its employees can reduce their plastic waste. Wyeth and CoOp will hopefully collaborate on education and awareness campaigns regarding plastic waste and the workshop was the first step.
The entities are hoping to collaborate on projects that will benefit the environment as they want to contribute to winning the war on plastic pollution.
“We have a whole line up of initiatives (including a partnership with CoOp) to educate and engage employees with the aim of reducing the use of plastic,” Wyeth’s Claudine Serrano told CoOp.
While this is just the first step, it is important as corporations have realized the impact that plastic pollution has on the environment, and how marine plastics detrimentally affects the oceans. If you wish to learn more about reduing your plastic waste, waste management and upcycling, please contact us.
I grew up in Southern California, enjoying the sunny weather and beautiful beaches. I learned to surf when I was just 10 years old in waters that while not pristine, were still fairly clean. I started recycling in the 4th grade, when my football coach told me that I could earn money collecting aluminum cans and selling them to recyclers. That was initially the first job I ever had. That habit followed me into college, when I collected aluminum cans (plastic water bottles had not yet been foisted on the populace yet) after I went surfing. My Volkswagen bus always had a sweet yet rubbery smell due to the mix of soda and beer and dank wetsuits that were always in a bucket in the back of the bus.
In the 1980s there were two major water peddlers in the U.S. market; Perrier and Evian. Evian though I think was the first to bottle water in plastic. Around the mid-1990s, more food and beverage companies got this great idea to bottle water in plastic. Take what is essentially a free or very low cost resource and charge people for it. And bottle that water in plastic to save on shipping costs. Americans and the rest of the world have had a love affair with water packaged in plastic bottles ever since. Now to differentiate, the water companies would give water catchy sounding names. Names like Fiji water, or Smart water, or Lifewtr, or Propel. When it comes down to it though. It is all the same. It is water. Water that you pay ridiculous amounts of money for.
Here in Southern California, and probably elsewhere in the United States, bottled water has become so popular that people take that bottled water for granted. To this day, I still go on recycling collections on the beach before surfing and the number one item is no longer aluminum cans, but plastic water and soda bottles. Sometimes, I find plastic water bottles nearly full, with just a sip or two taken from the bottle. That is how wasteful that we Californians are. Not only do we pay for what is essentially a very low cost resource, we waste it and then we trash our environment with the packaging.
The beaches aren’t the only place where I practice my 40 year bottle and can collection habit. After a short hiatus, I started cycling the streets of Huntington Beach again. Not the 100 miles a week of my college days, but still a decent amount given my age. On my rides, I immediately noticed that the street gutters, where I do the majority of my riding, are oftentimes full of trash. Beer cans and bottles, plastic water bottles, soda cans, Starbucks cups, In-N-Out burger soda cups and straws. Cigarette boxes. Food containers.
So I started carrying a bag. I started collecting the cans and bottles, those items that I can recycle. Now I have picked up other occasional items such as a huge piece of plastic, as well as foam food boxes and wrappers, but my main focus is that which I can recycle. The thing is I shouldn’t have to be doing this in the first place. Why do I do it? Because others don’t take personal responsibility for their actions. Plastic is not the problem. People are. Invest in a reusable water bottle. ThermoFlask, HydroFlask, KleanKanteen. These are all stainless steel and will last years. Use them. Reduce. Refuse. Upcycle. And please, keep our oceans clean. CleanOurOceansProject
Clean Our Oceans Project today went to People’s Park in Valenzuela, Bulacan to showcase the upcycled products that the NGO and Nestlé Philippines helped to create using plastic waste such as sachets and plastic bottles. These plastics won’t go to the landfills or be found in the ocean thanks to their efforts. Last month, CoOP collected more than 200kgs of plastics at Nestlé Philippines. You can read about it here.
May Balik sa Plastik is Nestlé’s first initiative to manage residual waste and turn it into recycled and upcycled plastics in Metro Manila. The world’s largest food company has partnered with CoOp to capture these plastics and turn them into durable goods that can be used.
This is an event that was held in cooperation with Valenzuela, Bulacan Mayor Gatchalian and Nestlé Philippines. People were able to view the products that they helped to create by upcycling their plastics. These products include crates, food trays, and rubbish bins. If you would like to help to clean our oceans, contact us for more information.