Recycling Bills Still Problematic

Although amendments removed job killer provisions, twin recycling bills are still opposed by the California Chamber of Commerce and a coalition of industry groups because the legislation falls short of addressing fundamental, overarching concerns.

Even as amended, AB 1080 (Gonzalez; D-San Diego) and SB 54 (Allen; D-Santa Monica) set impractical recycling rates and deadlines, particularly due to a lack of sufficient infrastructure, and assurances that local jurisdictions and waste haulers will pull material through for all recyclable and compostable materials. Both bills ignore the lack of current recycling and composting infrastructure, and adequate funding mechanism for deploying the infrastructure at the local level to develop a robust functioning waste management system.

Limitless Fees

The bills now include all single-use packaging materials, such as glass, paper, plastic and metals, in the single-use packaging provisions. The bills also re-establish the prohibition on sale of packaging materials not meeting the recycling mandate (previously removed), as well as include language on the administrative civil penalty, creating an arbitrary, potentially limitless and unreasonable liability for producers that is not rationally related to the purported violation.

Moreover, under the bills, CalRecycle will have broad “fee authority” to implement the program with no cap on fees. Section 42080 gives CalRecycle authority to charge producers a regulatory fee without any accountability mechanism or incentive for the agency to contain its costs, operate efficiently, or be accountable to producers in incurring costs.

Additionally, CalRecyle will have the authority to impose such fees via emergency regulatory authority that provides a mere five days to comment, with no requirement for CalRecyle to respond to comments.

AB 1080 and SB 54 are on the Senate and Assembly floors. The CalChamber is asking members to contact their representatives and ask them to vote “no” on AB 1080 and SB 54.

Friday is the deadline for bills to pass to the Governor.

Staff Contact: Adam Regele

Adam Regele
Adam Regele joined the CalChamber in April 2018 as a policy advocate specializing in environmental policy, housing and land use, and product regulation issues. He was named a senior policy advocate in April 2021, and promoted to vice president of advocacy and strategic partnerships in March 2023. He came to the CalChamber after practicing law at Oakland-based Meyers, Nave, Riback, Silver & Wilson, PLC, where he advised private and public clients on complex projects involving land use and environmental laws and regulations at the local, state and federal levels. Before entering private practice, Regele served as a federal judicial law clerk to the Honorable Edward J. Davila of the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California. Regele earned a B.S. in environmental science at the University of California, Berkeley, and a J.D. from UC Hastings College of Law, where he was symposium editor and research and development editor for the Hastings West-Northwest Journal. See full bio.