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SB 54: State Law to Cut Single-Use Packaging Pollution in California

Packaging waste makes up over 50 percent of what is thrown away in California landfills by volume, and is the most commonly found material littering our waterways and communities.


A new State law, SB 54, known as the Plastic Pollution Prevention and Packaging Producer Responsibility Act, sets new goals to reduce plastic packaging and requires that all forms of single-use packaging be recyclable or compostable by 2032. The law is the nation’s most comprehensive legislation to date to cut dependence on single-use packaging, while shifting plastic pollution responsibility to producers and manufacturers.

The new law will:

  • Reduce the volume of plastic and other packaging
  • Require all single-use packaging and foodware to be recyclable or compostable by 2032
  • Transfer the cost of collecting, processing, and recycling single-use packaging from local governments to producers
  • Stimulate investment in reuse and refill systems 

Specifically, the legislation requires producers to reduce single-use plastic packaging and foodservice packaging by at least 25 percent by 2032, either from direct elimination of plastic packaging or shifting to reuse or refill systems. direct elimination of plastic packaging or shifting to reuse or refill systems. In addition to requiring that all single-use packaging be recyclable or compostable, the bill also requires that all plastic single-use packaging items reach a recycling rate of at least 65% by 2032.

What's Covered

  • All single-use packaging: Includes plastic, paper, paperboard, metal, glass, multi-layer materials, etc. (definition is material neutral)
  • Plastic single-use foodware: Cups, lids, straws, cutlery, stirrers, lidded containers, trays, plates, clamshells, food wrap, and wrappers

Funding and Oversight

This law transfers the cost of collecting, processing, and recycling plastic foodware and single-use packaging from local governments to producers. It's a significant step in addressing plastic pollution nationwide. Producers will fund and manage these efforts through a Producer Responsibility Organization (PRO), overseen by CalRecycle. The PRO must contribute $5 billion over 10 years to a fund for mitigating plastic pollution and aiding affected communities.

CalRecycle is tasked with implementing and enforcing the law, including adopting necessary regulations. Local governments must include relevant materials in their collection programs, with the PRO reimbursing implementation costs.

CalRecycle has formed an advisory board to guide the development of SB 54 regulations, including representatives of local government, environmental and environmental justice organizations, manufacturers, recycling and solid waste enterprises, and retail and grocery associations. StopWaste’s Executive Director, Timothy Burroughs, was selected as one of 16 members of this board to represent the interests of local governments and has been chosen to serve as its chair. StopWaste and partners are actively involved in the rulemaking process and working to engage local governments across the State. We will continue to update resources and key dates here as they emerge. You can also visit CalRecycle’s website for updates.


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