Monday, August 24, 2009

Day 21 S/V Kaisei: Taking Action

Monday, 24 August 2009
Lat: 38°50’ N Lon: 126°36’ W

Part of being an active environmental citizen, starts with being aware of up and coming bills and initiatives. Here are some of PKST’s favorite green bills happening in our golden state, California.

Clean Seas Legislation 2009:
• SB 4: Smoking Ban: up on August 19th for assembly floor vote. This bill bans smoking on public beaches and parks statewide, as cigarette butts are a significant component of marine debris.
• AB 925: Leash Your Lid: Plastic Beverage Container Caps. Up in a few weeks before the Senate. Like the pop-tops of aluminum cans of the 1970’s, this law would make plastic beverage bottle caps become part of California’s successful bottle recycling by requiring caps be attached to the bottle. Retailers would be prohibited from selling a single use plastic beverage container with a cap that is not attached to or part of the beverage container, and made from a recyclable material. This bill is important for large seabirds, which often mistake plastic bottle caps for food. Ingestion of plastic bottle cap debris can lead to malnutrition, starvation and premature death for ordinarily long-lived seabirds such as the albatross.
• SB 79: BPA Ban [Up in the Assembly]: Rather than waiting years for the state’s regulatory process under Green Chemistry, this bill would ban bisphenol-A (BPA), a known endocrine disruptor in baby bottles, sippy cups, formula cans and food jars. Emerging research indicates BPA is linked to a host of serious developmental and health problems, even in extremely low doses. Canada has banned this chemical in baby bottles and has signaled its intention to regulate it in food containers, and Minnesota has banned it, with legislation pending in 23 states. Many CA local municipalities have taken action including San Francisco, as well as Chicago and Suffolk County in New York.

2010 Legislation:
• AB 283: Extended Producer Responsibility Act of 2010:
The bill requires the state to administer a program to have producers of designated products be responsible for the lifecycle of their product, including waste disposal. Modeled after successful EU, Canadian and other international programs, this framework legislation sets some criteria to consider when designating products and/or packaging to be considered for regulation, but doesn’t specify products themselves. By shifting responsibility off of local governments and consumers, this bill encourage producers to research alternatives during the product design and packaging phases, in order to foster cradle-to-cradle producer responsibility.
• SB 21: Regulations on Lost or Abandoned Derelict Fishing Gear: This bill would require the department, in collaboration with the council, by January 1, 2011, to recommend to the commission sustainable funding sources for a program for the prevention of the loss of fishing gear and for the recovery of derelict fishing gear.
• AB 68: Single-Use Plastic Bag Fee: This bill will give consumers a choice of switching to reusable bags or paying 25 cents for each plastic or paper bag for litter prevention and clean-up.
• AB 87: Mitigation on Single-Use Plastic Bags: Existing law requires, until January 1, 2013, an operator of a store, as defined, to establish an at-store recycling program that provides to customers the opportunity to return clean plastic carryout bags to that store.
• AB 1358: Polystyrene Disposable Food Container Ban: Prohibits a food vendor from dispensing prepared food to a customer in a disposable polystyrene non-recyclable plastic or non-recycled paper container. Authorizes compostable plastic containers in a jurisdiction where organic waste is collected. Prohibits a state facility or vendor doing business with the state from using a polystyrene foam food service container at state facilities.

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