Kickstart: 'World's strongest recycled content standards' coming to California

Recycling is about to become really, really important in California where Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation that will require plastic beverage bottles to hit 50 percent recycled content by 2030, creating what he termed the “world’s strongest recycled content standards.”

The state Legislature approved the bill in August. The bill would apply to all plastic beverage containers in the state’s bottle deposit program. It phases in post-consumer content requirements, starting at 15 percent in 2022 and rising to 25 percent in 2025.

In signing it Sept. 24, Newsom linked the legislation to other bills focused on climate conditions.

“California has long led the way on bold solutions in the climate space, and the steps we take today bring us closer to our ambitious goals,” Newsom said in a news release. “I thank the Legislature for taking these important steps to protect the planet and public health.”

Mark Murray, executive director of the environmental organization Californians Against Waste, said the group has “strong support” for the move.

“Real plastic recycling isn’t finished when people take plastic bottles to recycling centers.  It only happens when manufacturers convert the material from those bottles into new products,” Murray said in a statement. “This new law represents an essential step toward achieving a circular economy.”

This week has been PN’s first virtual Caps & Closures conference. Later today, we’ll announce this year’s Innovation Award, and we’ll be covering stories from this week’s discussions in future issues of Plastics News, both online and in print.

But Frank Esposito has already covered one panel discussion on materials and what the future may hold.

On the materials side, expect tight supplies to continue to affect prices, while Cara Walton of consulting group Harbour Results Inc. notes that consumer spending will continue to reflect a stay-at-home economy. Think Netflix, rather than Delta Airlines.

“It’s a cyclical economy,” she said. “The consumer will continue to spend money, but in different ways.”

This has not been a normal year, obviously. Much of that has to do with the coronavirus pandemic, but it’s not alone. With racial unrest and protests in multiple cities, executives have been taking a serious look at what they can do to promote inclusiveness within their companies.

Now I’m not going to try and cover this very, very, very big topic here. And none of you need to be told that it’s a very important topic. But I am going to point you to a few places where you can read and hear more about the issues facing everyone in some way.

Our sister publication Rubber & Plastics News has a story from a keynote presentation at the Center for Automotive Research’s Management Briefing Seminars by Carla Walker-Miller, the CEO of Walker-Miller Energy Services LLC who frames the issues.

“Our collective reality has changed in the space of a few short months and we have never seen anything like it,” Walker-Miller said. “We are being called upon — we are being challenged — to look at our own organizations, our own boards, our own C-suites [and] departments, our own actions and our choices and say, ‘Yes this is normal, this is how it has been, but is this right? Is this fair? Is this equitable? Is this just?’ And the biggest change — the tectonic shift — is the recognition … that this racial justice conversation is a business conversation.”

Bloomberg created an online conference, with a discussion from Dow Inc. CEO Jim Fitterling, on “Inclusion in the Age of Disruption.”

And if you don’t have time for a virtual conference, why not start small? Karen S. Carter is Dow’s first chief inclusion officer. For a “follow Friday,” consider following her on Twitter to get her take on the changes we’re facing.

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