California Aims to Reduce Plastic Waste, Another Politician Embarrasses Themselves, & More!
The California State Legislature is on summer recess until August 16th. Until then, we will be advocating for our sponsored legislation with legislative and committee staff. Bills will come up for votes soon after the session reconvenes. We will also be keeping up with the latest animal and environmental issues.
We are excited to share two positive steps in the effort to reduce plastic waste.
California Making Some Progress to Reduce Plastic Waste
After several commendable legislative attempts via bills introduced by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, Senator Ben Allen, and others over the years that would have put the state on a path to reduce plastic waste failed due to fierce lobbying by special interests, there is renewed hope for progress. The issue will now be brought directly to YOU, the people who support real action, in 2022 via ballot initiative.
What would the ballot initiative do?
The ballot initiative would require the California Department of Resources, Recycling, and Recovery (CalRecycle), in consultation with other agencies, to adopt regulations that reduce the use of single-use plastic packaging and foodware, including:
- requiring producers to ensure that single-use plastic packaging and foodware is recyclable, reusable, refillable, or compostable by 2030;
- requiring producers to reduce or eliminate single-use plastic packaging or foodware that CalRecycle determines is unnecessary for product or food item delivery;
- requiring producers to reduce the amount of single-use plastic packaging and foodware sold in California by at least 25 percent by 2030;
- requiring producers to use recycled content and renewable materials in the production of single-use plastic packaging and foodware;
- establishing “mechanisms for convenient consumer access to recycling,” including take-back programs and deposits;
- establishing and enforcing labeling standards to support the sorting of discarded single-use plastic packaging and foodware; and
- prohibiting food vendors from distributing expanded polystyrene food service containers.
The ballot initiative would also enact a fee, called the California Plastic Pollution Reduction Fee, on single-use plastic packaging and foodware. CalRecycle would determine the fee amount with a maximum amount of 1 cent per item of packaging or foodware. Beginning in 2030, the fee would be adjusted based on changes in the California Consumer Price Index. Revenue from the tax would be distributed to CalRecycle, the California Natural Resources Agency, and local governments.
Although our personal wish would be for the mandates to be effective sooner than 2030, we look forward to supporting and voting for this important groundbreaking law.
Also, some good news from my home town, the Laguna Beach City Council, led by the Environmental Sustainability Committee, (which I am fortunate to be on and Vice Chair of) passed an ordinance banning single-use plastic containers and straws in Laguna Beach parks, beaches, and trails.
We are thrilled the council voted unanimously to support this landmark ordinance, and thank the members for working with our committee and city staff to see it through and expedite into law this year.
As part of this Plan to reduce the impacts of litter on our beaches, oceans, parks, and neighborhoods, the Laguna Beach City Council has adopted an ordinance updating the City’s plastic pollution policy. Beginning Thursday, July 15, 2021,single-use plastic food ware items are prohibited from all Laguna Beach trails, parks and beaches. The sale, use, and distribution of single-use, to-go plastic or polystyrene food ware items, including bioplastics, are also no longer permitted within the City of Laguna Beach, including:
- Plastic beverage straws
- Plastic stirrers
- Plastic cutlery
- Plastic take-out bags
To help businesses, restaurants, visitors and residents get started on the Path to Plastic Free, the City of Laguna Beach is launching an informational outreach campaign and providing an online information toolkit and vendor and distributor resources.
If you missed our featured Q&A with SCIL Board Members, please click on graphics below to read their stories. We are so fortunate to have these animal warriors dedicated to our legislative advocacy group.
And some disappointing news…
California U.S. Representative Eric Swalwell Embarrasses Himself by Supporting Animal Abuse
Recently, U.S. Representative Eric Swalwell (D-15) was recorded riding a camel in Qatar for a ridiculous photo op. After the political stunt by California Gubernatorial candidate, John Cox, paraded a bear in front of the press to show his “toughness,” Social Compassion in Legislation hoped that politicians might learn a lesson and leave sad interactions with animals off of their itineraries.
We urge everyone to not support animal use in tourism. A simple ride might seem fairly harmless on its face, but what we don’t see are all of the actions that led up to that moment. Camels and other animals are being dragged around and forced to bear the weight of humans, carriages, and tourists’ luggage over and over again, most of the time with no regard for their welfare. If these animals hesitate or do not cooperate, they’re beaten. You may see signs at tourist destinations asserting high animal-welfare standards, but they’re false and exist to placate tourists. You can avoid putting money into the pockets of animal abusers by steering clear of these rides completely.
We hope that criticism of both Mr. Cox and Representative Swalwell’s useless interactions with these animals has opened their eyes (and their supporters) to the sad reality of animal abuse for entertainment and tourism and avoid animal exploitation wherever they are, home or vacation.
Please, consider making a donation to support our vital work, it is very costly to have a professional team of lobbyists working for us the animals in Sacramento!
Thank you for your help,
Judie Mancuso, founder/CEO/president
Social Compassion in Legislation