California Passes Bill SB 372, Making Beverage Companies Responsible For Recycling

California’s recycling system, like many others across the US, has felt the hit of China’s decision to stop accepting waste from across the world. Many companies like have been forced to deal with more recyclables that should’ve been recycled, and a fair number of recycling centers have closed within the past half-decade.

In response, the California Senate’s Environmental Quality Committee held a hearing on the recently-proposed SB 372 bill, also known as the Beverage Container Recycling Act of 2020. The bill surmises that the companies that profit from the production and manufacturing should be the ones responsible for taking responsibility for the recycling of their products, under California state law.

Notably, this isn’t the first time an idea like this has percolated in the US’s legislative system, as Oregon and Michigan have already passed laws that mandate that the beverage industry take responsibility for the recycling of their very products, which helped bumped up the redemption rate in those states to 81% and 89%, respectively. In turn, those states were inspired by Norway, Germany, and Lithuania, which has redemption rates of 95%, 98%, and 93%, respectively, a huge difference when compared to California’s 66%.

According to a report from Consumer Watchdog; Trashed: How California Recycling Failed and How to Fix It, successful recycling in the rest of the world is all about making it convenient for consumers and bringing back cans to the point of purchase with the use of modern technology and automation, like Reverse Vending Machines.

The report added that the recycling systems that work, that would actually help companies like greatly, make the beverage and retail companies that manufacture, distribute, and sell their products responsible for recycling them. This responsibility makes it more worthwhile for them to make their products easier to recycle in the first place.

Notably, SB-372 got passed by the California Senate Environmental Quality Committee by a margin of 4 to 1. Next step for the bill is to send it to the Appropriations Committee for reviewing, before further deliberation as to whether or not the bill will be signed into actual legislation.