On Oct. 12, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill (AB) 54 by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), delivering California’s grocery community a respite from the state’s recycling crisis.
The California Grocers Association (CGA) supported the bill and led the policy discussion concerning a temporary fix for California’s faltering recycling system.
“In the aftermath of this year’s surprise rePlanet closures, CGA stepped in to offer policy solutions to support the grocery industry, California’s environmental values and the customers served by our industry,” said CGA President and CEO Ron Fong. “We applaud Assemblymember Ting’s sincere effort to craft a balanced policy approach that takes into account the unforeseen burden recycling center closures would place on grocers—especially due to the fact grocers did nothing to cause these closures.”
Under the newly-signed law, grocers impacted by recycling center closures that occurred between Aug. 1 and Sept. 1, 2019, are exempt from in-store bottle redemption and the $100-per-day fees in lieu of recycling, until March 1, 2020. Retailers located in unserved convenience zones now will be able to partner with recyclers outside store location parking lots.
The bill also provides additional funding for low-performing recycling centers and earmarks budget resources for mobile recycling pilot programs.
“A number of our member companies have been working to spearhead mobile recycling initiatives,” Fong explained. “We’re excited the governor saw the need for immediate action and that legislative efforts lined up behind new and innovative approaches to recycling.”
Because AB 54 contained an urgency clause, the bill went into effect upon its signing. This means any affected grocer will immediately benefit from the new law.