By Andrew Sheeler, SACRAMENTO BEE - CAPITOL ALERT
March 8, 2021
Representatives from 10 groups have written a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom urging him to modernize California’s beverage recycling program.
“California has a proud tradition of environmental leadership. The adoption of the 1987 California Beverage Container Recycling and Litter Reduction Act is no exception, with the system achieving 85% recycling rates, diverting hundreds of billions of beverage containers from carbon-emitting landfills, and creating thousands of jobs across the state,” the letter begins. “In recent years, however, the system has fallen into crisis, with a series of self-reinforcing problems driving performance down each year. We are writing to urge you to prioritize overhauling the current system to reposition the state’s bottle bill as a prized environmental standard-bearer, in line with the best performing deposit return systems in the world. This is a logjam that can only be solved with executive leadership.”
The letter is signed by Michael O’Heaney, of The Story of Stuff Project; Katherine O’Dea, of Save Our Shores; Dianna Cohen of Plastic Pollution Coalition; Laura Deehan of Environment California; Emily Rusch of CALPIRG; Bradley Angel of Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice; Barbara Sattler of Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments; Alexandra Nagy of Food & Water Action; Liza Tucker of Consumer Watchdog; and Susan Collins of Container Recycling Institute.
The letter points out that since 2013, 1,300 beverage container redemption centers across the state have closed, leaving many communities without a center to recycle their cans and bottles and reclaim their deposit.
“Across the state, there’s now an average of just one redemption center per 23,000 people, while in the Bay Area the figure is one per 60,000 people, one of the worst ratios for any deposit program anywhere in the world,” the letter says.
The groups urged Gov. Newsom to take action on the state recycling system, with a focus on consumer convenience, high collection targets, manufacturer responsibility and the facilitation of reuse.
You can read the full letter for yourself by visiting here.