California already has placed curbs on plastic items such as straws and bags — and this week legislation was introduced to phase out single-use plastic food containers and other packaging that isn’t recyclable or compostable.
The proposed measure also would apply to polystyrene foam containers used for takeout meals, as well as plastic detergent bottles. Assembly Bill 1080, introduced Thursday, follows concerns about plastic debris going in oceans and on beaches.
If the legislation becomes law, some experts believe it could lead to other states taking similar steps. In 2014 California became the first state with a single-use plastic bag ban, they noted, which led to at least four other states introducing similar measures.
“What we do in California tends to spread across the country,” said Mark Murray, executive director of Californians Against Waste, a nonprofit environmental group. “If manufacturers have to comply with this rule in California, they probably are going to do this across the country.”
If passed, Murray said the legislation would be a “win” for companies making or marketing two common recycled plastic materials: polyethylene terephthalate (or PET) and high-density polyethylene (HDPE). PET is commonly used for plastic bottles that contain water or soda, while HDPE is used in milk jugs, shampoo bottles, household cleaning bottles and in some trash bags and cereal liners.