Plastics are responsible for at least
232 million tons of planet-warming emissions each year
, de acuerdo a a report released last year
. That’s around the same amount as the average emissions released by
116 coal-fired power plants
“Remember that when you’re making plastic, there’s the greenhouse gas emissions, but these facilities also emit massive amounts of air toxins and particulates,” Judith Enck, a former Environmental Protection Agency regional administrator and now president of Beyond Plastics, le dijo a CNN. “It’s really a health threat.”
Plastics also exacerbate environmental injustice. As the industry expands, refineries and production facilities tend to set up shop in largely marginalized communities of color. Según el informe, más que 90% of the climate pollution from the plastics industry occurs in 18 communities along the Gulf Coast that are home to mostly low-income residents and people of color.
“California won’t tolerate plastic waste that’s filling our waterways and making it harder to breathe,” Newsom dijo. “We’re holding polluters responsible and cutting plastics at the source.”
While the new law is a clear win for the climate, the environment and communities around plastics facilities, leaders within the plastics industry do not support it.
“The Plastics Industry Association is disappointed that, en el final, we cannot support today’s signed version of Senate bill 54,” Matt Seaholm, Plastics Industry Association president and CEO, dijo en un comunicado. “The plastics industry remained dedicated to a final compromise bill that we could get behind, supportive of a circular approach to eliminating plastic waste, which we, Desafortunadamente, do not feel this bill accomplishes.”
A key measure in the law requires plastic producers to pay $ 500 million to the state each year for 10 years starting in 2027, which will be collected into the California Plastic Pollution Mitigation Fund. The fund will then be dedicated to “mitigating the environmental impacts of plastic,” the law says.
While the new California law puts a special emphasis on recycling
, environmental experts have been sounding the alarm about the ineffectiveness of plastics recycling
. California, por ejemplo, has fallen short of statewide goals of recycling 75% of waste
por 2020. Of the state’s
77.4 million tons of waste generated in
2020, aproximadamente 42% was recycled or diverted
, de acuerdo con el reporte from California’s Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery
En 2021, Americans recycled only about
5% of their plastic waste
, a decline from the high of 9.5%
“In this time of extreme polarization in our nation, California was able to show that we can pass strong environmental legislation with bipartisan support that brought together the environmental and business communities,” California state Sen. Ben Allen, author of the legislation, dijo en un comunicado. “With this new law, California continues its tradition of global environmental leadership.”