NEC Supports AB-54 – Single Use Packaging and Products Legislation

Senator Ben Allen is currently authoring a bill (SB 54) that seeks to curb some of the mass amounts of single use plastics that are overrunning our oceans and state’s wild places, in general. The Northcoast Environmental Center supports this effort and emailed Senator Mike McGuire the following letter of support.

We encourage all to send similar letters to the Senator.

RE: Support for SB 54 Single-Use Packaging and Products

Dear Senator McGuire:

The Northcoast Environmental Center is writing you to affirm our support for Senate Bill SB 54.

Single-use packaging and products in California generate tons of non-recyclable and non-compostable waste that impacts our health and ecosystems.

Plastic pollution is petroleum based and starts with fossil fuel extraction to create these plastics and it impacts all individuals, communities, and ecosystems along their supply chain. This starts when the products are manufactured, then spreads when they are transported, and used. To make matters worse when they degrade, they emit greenhouse gases and have a long term negative impact on the environment as litter and as they break down as micro plastics.

The oil refineries and plastic manufacturers, with their incinerators and smoke stacks are commonly located in or near disadvantaged communities. These communities then must bear the brunt of all the associated health impacts from this very dirty industry. Among these impacts is much higher asthma rates. So with a planned 40-percent increase in plastic production over the next decade, this will account for 20 percent of global fossil fuel consumption unless we make major policy changes to significantly reduce this.

One important way to reduce the production of plastics is to focus on its use in packaging. Plastic packaging is typically designed to be used just once and then discarded. This accounts for 42 percent of all non-fiber plastic produced. Unlike natural materials that decompose, nearly every piece of plastic ever produced still exists in our landfills or in our ecosystems. As these items fragment into smaller particles, known as micro plastics, they bio accumulate and concentrate toxic chemicals that contaminate our food and drinking water sources, ranging from bottled water to table salt to fish and agricultural soils. Exposure to these plastics and associated toxicants have been linked to cancers, birth defects, impaired immunity, endocrine disruption and other serious health problems.

Since China is no longer accepting plastic waste, California must reduce the amount of plastics as a result of this reality. We can no longer afford to wait on this issue. The only solution is eliminating non-reusable, non-recyclable and non-compostable products and reducing this type of packaging. This is by far the most effective and least expensive way to protect the health of people, wildlife, and the environment of California.

Please support SB 54 Single-Use Packaging and Products.

Sincerely,

Larry Glass,

Executive Director