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Santa Monica Lawmaker's Recycling Bill Signed into Law


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By Lookout Staff

October 18, 2017 -- A bill sponsored by Santa Monica Assemblymember Richard Bloom that is expected to improve the efficiency of recycling programs was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown this weekend.

The measure, AB 906, implements a scientifically-based definition of polyethylene terephthalate, or PET, for plastic containers and packaging, Bloom's office said.

Currently, two polymers -- PET and PETG -- both fall under Resin Code 1 on the labels used to reflect the type of resin used to produce the container.

The codes streamline the recycling process by sorting each type of resin and processing it differently.

“Every year, billions of plastic bottles are recycled in California, some of which are mislabeled and, as a result, contaminate the recycling streams they enter," said Bloom, a former Santa Monica mayor.

"AB 906 will ensure that plastic bottles are appropriately labeled according to their chemical composition. (It) will help reduce contamination in the recycling stream and improve the efficacy of the recycling program."

Although PET and PETG are classified together, PET has a much higher processing temperature, Bloom said.

When the two materials are recycled together, PETG melts, sticking to PET chips and forming large lumps that ensnare and slow the recycling process," Bloom said.

The labling change based on its chemical composition and melting point should have a major impact, Bloom said.

“This seemingly minor change made to bottles before they even enter the recycling stream will have a positive impact at every step of the recycling process, ensuring that bottles are appropriately labeled by manufacturers, sorted by consumers and receiving facilities, and processed by recycling processors.”


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