Governor Gavin Newsom signed new legislation requiring all packaging in California to be recyclable or compostable by 2032 in an effort to reduce plastic waste.
"It's going to start reducing the amount of plastics that are used in everyday life around California," said Peter Cron, San Luis Obispo County Integrated Waste Management Authority Executive Director.
This requirement will cut plastic packaging by 25% over the next ten years and require 65% of single-use plastic packaging to be recycled during that timeline.
"Which is going to shift the responsibility of waste from consumers, towns and cities to companies that manufacture the products," Cron said.
There are some exceptions for medical products, medicines, infant formula, insecticides, hazardous waste packaging, beverage containers, and some other products.
Cron explains waste from beverage containers is addressed by separate legislation.
"Assembly Bill 793. That has its own parameters where it's going to require up to 50% recycling of beverage containers by 2030," Cron said.
The new legislation also targets polystyrene.
"Because polystyrene and its recyclability into products, it’s probably going to make that more difficult to manage," Cron said.
Some local restaurants say they think this legislation will have a positive impact on the state of California, but they've already switched from using plastic to more sustainable options.
"It won't affect us too much majorly. We already try and use paper products as much as we can that are eco-friendly. Paper to-go containers, paper bowls and paper straws as well," said Ryan Wiltfang, Cape Cod Eatery & Taphouse Assistant Manager.
"We use a lot of alternatives. We use wooden spoons instead of plastic spoons, we use paper straws, of course, so we don't have a lot of single-use plastic items here," said Joseph Lilly, General Manager of McConnell's Fine Ice Creams San Luis Obispo.
This new legislation is part of the state’s overall effort to combat climate change and speed up the transition to clean energy.
The legislation requires at least 30% of all plastic packaging in the state to be recycled by January 1, 2028, 40% by 2030, and 65% by 2032.