01 • 01 • 2020

California Recycling and Plastic Pollution Reduction Voter Initiative

To reduce plastic pollution through statewide law to reduce single-use plastic and promote recycling of existing plastic.

Updated August 11, 2020

The California Recycling and Plastic Pollution Voter Initiative has qualified for the California ballot! Supporters submitted more than 870,000 voter signatures this week to qualify the initiative for the next ballot – significantly more than the 623,212 signatures required. The initiative was originally on track to appear on this November’s ballot; however, signature gathering was slowed to respect and protect public health as a result of the pandemic. A court extended the original deadline, and a surge of volunteer support provided the remaining signatures needed to appear on the next general election to occur after this November - presumably in November 2022.

California Recycling and Plastic Pollution Reduction Act of 2020 would require producers of single-use plastic packaging and foodware to take several steps to minimize plastic pollution. These steps include:

  • ensuring these producers transition to reusable, refillable, recyclable, or compostable packaging and foodware by 2030;

  • placing requirements on producers to source single-use plastic packaging and single-use plastic foodware sold in or into California to the maximum extent possible, and by no less than twenty-five percent (25%) by 2030;

  • requiring producers to use recycled content and renewable materials;

  • establishing mechanisms for consumer access to recycling, including take-back programs;

  • establishing and enforcing labeling standards to support proper sorting of discarded items;  

  • ban the use of polystyrene food containers by food vendors; and

  • establish a Plastic Pollution Reduction Fee on producers of all single-use plastic packaging and single-use plastic foodware of no more than $0.01 per item.

Surfrider supports this statewide effort to reduce single-use plastics. The voter initiative complements single-use plastic reduction legislation, including the California Circular Economy and Pollution Reduction Act (SB-54 and AB-1080). 

Plastic Pollution