Key to Recycling Overhaul: Scalable, Standardized Compliance Path Plus Infrastructure Investments

Overhauling California’s recycling market requires a balance of the right mandates with a compliance pathway, California Chamber of Commerce Policy Advocate Adam Regele told legislators yesterday at an informational joint hearing on plastic use in California.

The joint hearing, held by the Assembly Natural Resources Committee and Recycling Select Committee, focused mostly on the problems plastic pollution has on communities and the natural environment, with some Committee-selected panelists suggesting increasing recycling fees or banning plastic single use packaging.

Regele testified that the CalChamber wants to be part of the solution that provides business with a compliance pathway. He emphasized that in order to create a circular economy in California, there needs to be statewide standardization that provides predictability for companies to design and invest towards. The current patchwork of local requirements and approaches to recycling is incongruous with a statewide approach and the broader state objective of scaling the program beyond California’s borders, he said.

Lastly, Regele pointed out that additional investments in recycling and composting infrastructure will be critical to meeting California’s waste diversion goals, and has the co-benefit of providing good paying jobs within the state.

The need for more infrastructure in California is supported by Cal Recycle reports stating that “[t]here is minimal manufacturing infrastructure in California for recycled glass, paper, plastic . . . in terms of the number of facilities and the estimated throughput . . . with the supply . . .exceed[ing] the manufacturing capacity by more than 300 percent.” 

A recording of the hearing is available at: https://www.assembly.ca.gov/media/assembly-joint-hearing-natural-resources-select-committee-waste-reduction-recycling-20201116/video.