9/10/2019 By Madi Golightly
California could be days away from passing legislation that would force packaging manufacturers to switch to reusable products or recyclable or compostable single-use packaging by 2030. Additionally, these bills would require companies to reduce all plastic packaging waste by 75%. AB-1080 and SB-54, known as the California Circular Economy and Plastic Pollution Prevention Act, are two bills that would make plastic manufacturers responsible for their single-use packaging.
If these bills pass, all single-use products made from unrecyclable material will be banned in California by 2030.
Many people have commented on @ZeroWasteCalifornia that 2030 is too far away. Unfortunately, that seems to be the nature of environmental action when the public is unaware of the of the urgency of the situation. It took decades to stop adding lead to gasoline. DDT was banned a decade after Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring was published. So what can we as consumers do to speed things up?
Immediately, we must stop buying any items that are non-recyclable whenever possible. And better, we must try to skip out on buying plastic entirely. I am really saddened by the amount of styrofoam and plastic wrap in Asian supermarkets here in California. I love Asian food and it’s difficult to find many of their ingredients elsewhere. I write to these supermarket chains, asking them to switch to an alternative material, but so far I’ve received no response Maybe if we all chimed in, they would listen.
And it’s not limited to Asian supermarkets, it’s basically almost all stores of any nature, not including those specifically designed to be sustainable.
If we stop buying these materials, we are voting, we are saying we do not want these products in our life or our environment.
This means we need to remember to bring our reusable items with us like grocery bags, water bottles, and reusable mugs if you’re a hot beverage on-the-go drinker. If you’re a straw user, carry a reusable straw with you. I only use straws for homemade smoothies, but some people rely on them and they deserve a sustainable alternative that’s safer for them and the planet. The science is already there, we just need to increase the support to make plant-based compostable single-use straws with the same durability as plastic (as well as other necessary utensils) for those who rely on them.
For the rest of us, carry a reusable or go without!
The next thing we can do is contact the consumers. Comment publicly on their Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter accounts so the world can see the issue and their response. The more voices are heard, the more they will be forced to listen.