Plastic Waste Game Changer: Jennifer Fearing on SB54

Plastic Water Bottle Floating in Pacific Ocean, Santa Monica, California, USA. Photo by Danita Delimont

CAPITOL WEEKLY PODCAST: On June 30, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed SB54, what most stakeholders characterized as the most aggressive plastic packaging recycling/reuse law in the United States.

The bill came after years of battles between environmentalists and the business community, battles which came to a head earlier this year when environmental advocates succeeded in qualifying a ballot initiative that would target plastic waste producers and would have banned some types of plastic outright. The initiative got the plastics industry to take notice, and over months of negotiations, a compromise emerged. That compromise was SB54.

We’re joined today by lobbyist Jennifer Fearing, who was a key player in the negotiations. She walks us through the compromise, explains what SB54 will actually do, and talks about the differences between the ballot proposal and the final bill.

Plus, as always, we tell you who had the Worst Week in CA Politics.

:23 SB54: What happened?

2:32 The ballot measure

4:52 What kind of support did the ballot prop have?

9:24 With this bill, California will affect the entire USA

10:14 “Extended Producer Responsibility”

14:20 The differences between the ballot proposition and SB54

17:06 A ‘defacto’ ban on polystyrene

20:03 Reuse is not a new idea

21:28 Let’s look at Barbie

23:11 What are CA’s recycling numbers now?

28:34 Plastic-eating bacteria?

33:30 WWCA

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