California Approves Plastics Recycling Agreements with 16 Companies

Minneapolis, MN and Long Beach, CA - Pledging to do more for the environment, 16 companies have entered into plastics recycling compliance agreements with the California Integrated Waste Management Board, the state's primary recycling agency and a part of the California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA).

"As more and more products are sold in convenient plastic containers, our responsibility to recycle those containers grows," said Waste Board Chair Linda Moulton-Patterson. "Too many plastics are ending up in the waste stream and California appreciates the support and cooperation of businesses in our statewide efforts to keep recyclable plastics out of landfills. Increasing the amount of plastic packaging and containers that are recycled results in a measurable benefit for California's environment and we acknowledge these businesses for their leadership."

The agreements cover only those rigid plastic packaging containers (RPPC) specified under state law and used to package products sold in California. Not all of a company's products packaged in plastic may be subject to the law. However, the businesses are mandated to make sure that the containers in which they sell products in California, which are subject to the RPPC law, meet California's plastics recycling and minimum-content requirements.

The Waste Board approved agreements with the following companies: Basic Coatings, Inc.; Binney & Smith, Inc.; Chamberlain Group, Inc.; Evans Adhesive Corp.; Genlabs; Gibson Discount Janitorial Supply; Great Western Sanitary Supplies; Imperial Adhesives, Inc.; Mission Laboratories; Nilodor, Inc.; Plastic-Kote Co., Inc.; Sovereign Specialty Chemicals, Inc.; Schnee-Morehead, Inc.; Schultz Co.; United Gilsonite Laboratories, and United Industries Corp.

The companies are required to achieve compliance between July 2001 and July 2002 in lieu of penalties for having been found to be out of compliance with the law for the years 1997, 1998, and/or 1999.

Some examples of plastic containers subject to California's minimum-content recycling law are soap and detergent bottles or jugs, household buckets, cleaners, paints, and motor oil. The businesses considered at the Waste Board's public meeting this week had previously marketed products in California in rigid plastic packaging that did not meet the state's recycling requirements, and they were discovered to be out of compliance after the Board conducted a random certification of companies.

California's RPPC law offers businesses several options for complying with the recycled-content provisions of the law. Companies may comply by using 25 percent postconsumer resin to make their containers, reducing by 10 percent the amount of plastic in their containers, making RPPCs that are reused or refilled at least five times, or by ensuring 45 percent of their containers are recycled. Many companies are exempt from the state requirements because they sell foods, drugs or cosmetics, pesticides, or hazardous materials.

Failure to make all reasonable and feasible efforts to complete the tasks specified in an RPPC compliance agreement within the time allowed might subject a company to a public hearing where fines of up to $100,000 per year may be levied.


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