December 6, 2022

Volume XII, Number 340


December 05, 2022

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California Signs New Plastics Law

After leading the nation in banning plastic bags, California recently enacted sweeping legislation that requires a reduction in the amount of plastic produced and used in the state. The law is the first of its kind. 

In the US, efforts to limit plastic waste have been inconsistent. A handful of states have banned or imposed a fee for plastic shopping bags, and some have banned foam food containers. That said, many of these laws were not enforced when the pandemic increased the demand for single-use plastics. Indeed, California briefly suspended its ban on single-use plastic shopping bags to curb the spread of Covid-19. The law has since been reinstated and supplemented by the Plastic Pollution Prevention and Packaging Producer Responsibility Act.

California’s new law has four main prongs:

  1. Reduction. The law requires a 25 percent reduction of plastics in single-use products, including single-use plastic bags, in California by 2032. The reduction can be achieved by shrinking the size of packaging or using refillable containers or packaging made from other materials, such as recyclable paper or aluminum. The reductions are projected to eliminate approximately 23 million tons of single-use plastics over the next decade.

  2. Recycling. The law also requires 30 percent of plastic to be recycled by 2028, increasing to 65 percent by 2032. If producers are unable to meet the required recycling rates, plastic will be banned entirely.

  3. Donation. The law further requires the plastics industry to create a $5 billion fund over the next decade to help low-income communities impacted by the effects of plastic pollution.

  4. EPR. Finally, the law transfers the cost of recycling from taxpayers to the plastics industry. This policy, called Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), is already successfully in effect in Oregon, Maine, Colorado, Canada, and the European Union.

The new law is expected to prompt a nationwide change in the plastics industry, as companies are likely to adapt to California’s standards regardless of whether their products are also sold elsewhere. Retailers should be looking for ways to achieve the reduction and recycling requirements of the new law and provide the appropriate products to customers.

© 2022 ArentFox Schiff LLPNational Law Review, Volume XII, Number 208

About this Author

Anthony V. Lupo Attorney Fashion and Technology Washington DC ArentFoxSchiff

Anthony’s diverse client base includes Discovery Channel, Pixar, and Oprah Winfrey Network in the entertainment industry; Diane von Furstenberg, Yves Saint Laurent, Valentino, Fila, Lacoste, Diesel, and Christian Louboutin in the fashion industry; and Tesla, PlayStation, and LG in the technology space. For fashion and retail industry clients, Anthony often acts as their US general counsel. He hosts the number one fashion legal blog, Fashion Counsel, and Forbes recently recognized him as the ‘father of...

Matthew R. Mills Intellectual Property Attorney ArentFoxSchiff

Matthew's diverse client base includes clients in the entertainment, television, and consumer products (fashion and consumer electronics) industries.

Matthew works on a wide range of intellectual property matters, including trademark, copyright, right of publicity, counterfeiting, and domain name disputes. He regularly assists clients with selecting, clearing, registering, and enforcing trademarks both domestically and abroad. In this role, Matthew oversees clearance, prosecution, enforcement, and licensing of the global trademark portfolio of...

Eva J. Pulliam Attorney Brand Protection Arent Fox Schiff Washington DC

Eva splits her time between Washington and San Francisco and concentrates her practice on brand protection: protecting data, brand image, and brand names. She advises clients across numerous industries on best practices in the areas of data privacy, advertising and marketing, and trademark. Household names, tech giants and startups, non-profits, and other innovative organizations call on Eva to guide them through product development and brand management. 

In the privacy space, Eva counsels clients around data collection, use, and transfer, as...

Megan A. Rzonca New York Entertainment Lawyer ArentFox Schiff

Megan A. Rzonca is an Associate at ArentFox Schiff's New York City office. She advises clients in the fashion, retail and entertainment industries.

Megan’s practice focuses on commercial transactions and brand protection in the areas of fashion, retail and entertainment. She routinely drafts and negotiates licensing, collaboration, marketing, service, software, technology, settlement and co-existence agreements as well as right of publicity releases. Megan’s leasing practice includes drafting and negotiating luxury fashion retail and office...