BILL NUMBER: AB 521 INTRODUCED BILL TEXT INTRODUCED BY Assembly Members Hueso and Stone FEBRUARY 20, 2013 An act relating to solid waste. LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST AB 521, as introduced, Hueso. Solid waste: plastic. The California Integrated Waste Management Act of 1989, administered by the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery, requires every rigid plastic packaging container, as defined, sold or offered for sale in this state to generally meet one of specified criteria. This bill would declare the intention of the Legislature to enact legislation that would create the Plastic Pollution Reduction Producer Responsibility Act to significantly reduce plastic pollution in the marine environment and require producers of those products to be financially responsible for this reduction. Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: no. State-mandated local program: no. THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: SECTION 1. The Legislature finds and declares all of the following: (a) The health of California's ocean and coastline is increasingly threatened by the persistent influx of plastic pollution on our shores and into our ocean. Plastic marine pollution is hurting California's environment and economy. (b) The vast majority of litter in California's coast and ocean comes from land-based sources, and it is well documented from more than 25 years of coastal cleanup data that up to 80 percent of this litter is plastic. (c) A 2012 study by the Convention on Biological Diversity found that 663 marine species have been impacted by marine litter through entanglement and ingestion, which is a two-thirds increase in species from a similar study in 1998. (d) In 2012, Region 9 of the federal Environmental Protection Agency estimated California's coastal cities and counties spend more than four hundred eighteen million dollars ($418,000,000) each year to combat litter and curtail marine debris. (e) The global production and consumption of plastic, especially single use plastic products, is on the rise. (f) Existing federal and state laws designed to combat marine litter are failing to keep plastic pollution from entering the ocean and harming marine wildlife and coastal economies. (g) Of the many plastic materials that pollute the ocean, single-use plastic items are some of the worst offenders. While used briefly on land, these items contain plastic that persists indefinitely in the marine environment. (h) A new approach is needed in California to reduce the impacts of single-use plastic products on California's environment and economy. SEC. 2. It is the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation that would create the Plastic Pollution Reduction Producer Responsibility Act to do all of the following: (a) Protect California's coasts and oceans by significantly reducing plastic pollution in the marine environment and requiring producers of those products to be financially responsible for the reduction. (b) Reduce the financial burden on local governments, taxpayers, and California regional water quality control boards in implementing key marine plastic pollution prevention infrastructure and activities. (c) Support California's economy by shifting the financial burden to those responsible for marine plastic pollution and by providing resources for local infrastructure projects. (d) Conduct ongoing monitoring to show measurable reduction of plastic pollution in the marine environment and to better understand the sources, pathways, and impacts of marine plastic pollution.