California’s Landmark Plastic Pollution Law Moves Forward


WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: California is on track to implement its nation-leading law to cut single-use plastic and packaging waste. For decades, product manufacturers have increasingly used cheap plastic as their material of choice while misleading the public about the reusability of these products as consumption has soared to record highs.

SACRAMENTO – California today took another step in implementing the nation’s most comprehensive measure to tackle the rise in plastic waste polluting our communities and ecosystems. Plastic waste is a major contributor to climate and trash pollution, with less than 9% of plastic recycled in California and the rest of the U.S.

Governor Gavin Newsom signed the Plastic Pollution Prevention and Packaging Producer Responsibility Act (SB 54) in 2022, which requires producers to cut single-use plastic waste and ensure the packaging on products they sell is recyclable or compostable. The state today released draft regulations for the measure, kicking off the formal rulemaking process.

“For too long, plastic polluters have passed the buck on the growing burden of plastic waste contaminating the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat,” said Governor Newsom. “California is leading the way to hold producers responsible, drive sustainable innovation and green jobs, and support the most impacted communities. We have to act now, with urgency, to give our kids a future without plastic pollution.”


This landmark law requires that by 2032, industry must:

  • Sell 25% less single-use plastic packaging and food ware in the state.
  • Make all single-use packaging and plastic food ware recyclable or compostable.
  • Recycle 65% of single-use plastic packaging and food ware.

In addition, the law creates a fund that will raise $5 billion from industry members to be used by the state to address plastic pollution in the most impacted communities.

The groundbreaking shift in the way we produce and consume plastic will create thousands of jobs. CalRecycle is now accepting applications for $40 million in redemption innovation technology grants on top of $15 million in workforce development grants rolling out this year to build the future of recycling in California.

The state will also promote workforce development in this space through the California Jobs First Council, which includes a focus on the circular economy, among other sectors for future growth as part of California’s strategy to prepare students and workers for high-paying careers and for the workforce of tomorrow.

More information on this development and additional recycling reforms can be found here.