U.S. – California Passes SB 343 Prohibiting Use of Deceptive Recycling Labels

Vol. 1275 | October 19, 2021

On October 5, 2021, California’s Governor Newsom signed Senate Bill 343 Truth in Labeling for Recyclable Materials (the bill), prohibiting the use of misleading recycling claims on non-recyclable products and packaging.

The bill prohibits deceptive or misleading claims about the recyclability of products or packaging, including displaying “chasing arrows” symbol or any recyclability claim, unless the product or packaging is considered recyclable pursuant to statewide recyclability criteria and is of a material type and form that routinely becomes feedstock used in the production of new products or packaging.

For the implementation of the law by January 1, 2024, the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (the Department) is required to provide information to the public, to evaluate whether a product or packaging is recyclable in the state according to the recyclability criteria they develop and is of material types and forms that routinely becomes feedstock used in the production of new products or packaging. To achieve this the Department must do following:

  • Update the regulations governing waste processors and recycling facility reporting to get information on how it collected and processed the material, and what material types and forms are actively recovered, and not considered contaminants, by the operation or facility.
  • To get a representative sample of recycling programs in the state, the Department must conduct and publish on its website a characterization study of material types and forms that are collected, sorted, sold, or transferred by solid waste facilities deemed appropriate by the department for inclusion in the study. This study shall be updated every five years with the first update being issued by the Department in 2027.

Based on that characterization study, a product or packaging is considered recyclable in the state, if the product or packaging is of a material type and form that meets both of the following requirements:

  • The material type and form is collected for recycling by recycling programs for jurisdictions that collectively encompass at least 60 percent of the population of the state.
  • The material type and form is sorted into defined streams for recycling processes by large volume transfer or processing facilities as determined by the department that process materials and collectively serve at least 60 percent of recycling programs statewide, with the defined streams sent to and reclaimed at a reclaiming facility consistent with the requirements of the Basel Convention.

A product or packaging shall not be considered recyclable in the state if any of following criteria are met:

  • The product or packaging includes any components, inks, adhesives, or labels that prevent the recyclability of the packaging.
  • The product or packaging contains an intentionally added chemical identified pursuant to the regulations implementing subparagraph (4) of subdivision (g) of Section 42370.2.
  • The product or packaging is made from plastic or fiber contains perfluoroalkyl or polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) that intentionally added with a functional or technical effect or the presence of PFAS at or above 100 parts per million in total organic fluorine.

Manufacturers will have up to 18 months after the Department publishes the information, or until January 1, 2024, whichever is later, to comply with the requirements to prevent deceptive or misleading recyclability claims on product and packaging.

A product or packaging is considered recyclable in the state if the product or packaging has a demonstrated recycling rate of at least 75 percent, meaning that not less than 75 percent of the product or packaging sorted and aggregated in the state is reprocessed into new products or packaging.

A product or packaging not collected by the curbside programs, before January 1, 2030, is considered recyclable if 60% of the product or packaging sold in the state is recovered and if that material has enough commercial value to be effectively recycled. This recovery percentage is increased from 60% to 75% beginning January 1, 2030.

The product or packaging is recyclable if it is part of, and in compliance with, a program established on or after January 1, 2022, governing the recyclability of that product or packaging and the director determines that it will not increase contamination of curbside recycling or deceive consumers.

California Senate Bill 343 can be reviewed at: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=202120220SB343

For questions, please contact Dr. Stella Li (xingyu.li@intertek.com, +1- 503-351-9612), Dr. Pratik Ichhaporia (pratik.ichhaporia@intertek.com, +1-847-212-8273).

 

 

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