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California Governor Signs Nation's First Mandatory Recycled Content Bill

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California Governor Gavin Newsom signed the United States’ first ever recycled content mandate for plastic beverage containers, California Assembly Bill 793. The law requires all plastic bottles covered by the state’s container redemption program average at least 15% post-consumer resin (PCR) starting in 2022. The recycled content mandate increases to 25% in 2025 and 50% in 2030.

The Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR) said they strongly support efforts to increase collection and supply of post-consumer recycled plastics to augment and sustain recycled content initiatives. APR was the first plastics related organization to publicly support mandatory recycled content legislation in 2006.  

“The passage of this bill is a critical step forward,” stated Steve Alexander, president and CEO of APR. “Mandated PCR content creates market demand, which in turn monetizes the entire waste and recycling management system.” 

Beverage manufacturers that miss the targets will be subject to penalty fees of 20 cents for each pound of PCR by which they fall short. The money will be deposited into a new “Recycling Enhancement Penalty Account,” and is to be spent on recycling, infrastructure, collection and processing of plastic beverage bottles.

“This is clearly a step in the right direction, but this is only the first step,” Alexander said. “We need to look at more minimum PCR requirements for all plastic packaging. APR looks forward to working with consumer brand companies to meet the requirements of this bill as well as their sustainability goals.”

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