The California Public Interest Research Group issued a news release on Feb. 14, 2022, that is excerpted as follows:
Assembly member Laura Friedman (D-Glendale) has introduced legislation (Assembly Bill 2026) that aims to reduce single-use plastic packaging used in the e-commerce marketplace. The bill will phase out certain single-use plastic packaging that is often added to goods for shipment of e-commerce purchases. Joining Friedman as coauthors of AB 2026 are Assembly members Ting (D-San Francisco), Bloom (D-Santa Monica), Kalra (D-San Jose), Quirk (D-Hayward), and Stone (D-Scotts Valley), as well as Senators Stern (D-Calabasas) and Wiener (D-San Francisco).
“The amount of single-use, non-recyclable plastic being used in packaging only continues to skyrocket and its impacts on our environment are disturbing and costly,” said Assembly member Laura Friedman. “These plastics, used for a very short period of time, are ending up in our waterways, clogging our waste systems, and worst of all – they’ll take centuries to degrade. As we continue to shift more towards online retailers, we have to ensure they’re operating sustainably.”
This new bill comes as sales in the e-commerce marketplace have skyrocketed and California leads the country in online shopping, with more than half of California residents reporting making more purchases online. A large majority of shipping envelopes and packaging materials such as air pillows, bubble wrap, and packing peanuts are made of plastic. The vast majority of this plastic becomes waste after a package is opened and then pollutes the environment whether it is sent to landfills, burned or becomes litter.
The full press release can be found here.
This is the second attempt of the California State Assembly to pass legislation curtailing the use of plastics in the eCommerce industry. A similar bill was attempted last year and received support from 39 assembly members. Support from 41 assembly members was needed to pass. The new bill was written to explicitly exempt fresh produce, raw meat and medical devices, a change that assembly members hope will help the legislation pass into law.
If successful this year, the new bill would require large online retailers such as Amazon to meet the mandate by January 2024, while smaller online retailers would have an additional two years, until January 2026, to make the change. The full text of the new bill can be read here.