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California Companies Enter Agreement with State to Promote Plastics Recycling

Sacramento, CA - Acting to increase the amount of reclaimed plastic that is manufactured into new containers statewide, the California Integrated Waste Management Board approved recycling compliance agreements with 23 companies. The agreements are the result of efforts by the state to enforce California's Rigid Plastic Packaging Container (RPPC) law and work with business and industry to achieve higher rates of plastic recycling. The Waste Board is the state's primary recycling agency and is a part of the California Environmental Protection Agency.

The plastics recycling compliance 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, businesses must ensure that product containers sold in California, which are specifically subject to the RPPC law, meet the state's plastics recycling and minimum-content requirements.

The Waste Board approved agreements with the following companies: Alto U.S., Inc.; Athea Laboratories, Inc.; Campbell Hausfeld; Chemspec; Chicago Pneumatic Tool Co., Automotive Div.; CRC Industries, Inc.; DiverseyLever (sic); Eclectic Products, Inc.; Emerson & Cumings, Inc.; Endar Corporation; Foam Seal, Inc.; Gardner Bender; Homax Products Company; John Deere Consumer Products, Inc.; Lundmark Wax Company; Oil-Chem Research Corporation; Orange Glo International, Inc.; Schrader-Bridgeport International, Inc.; Sierra International, Inc.; Sunbeam Corporation and its Subsidiaries; Three Bond International, Inc.; Turtle Wax, Inc., and ZEP Manufacturing Company.

The companies are required to achieve compliance between October 2001 and October 2002 in lieu of penalties for having been found to be out of compliance with the law for the years of 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. Many containers are exempt from the state requirements because they contain foods, drugs or cosmetics, pesticides, or other hazardous materials. Beverage containers are considered to contain a "food" product and are therefore also exempt from the requirements of the state's RPPC law.

The businesses considered at the Waste Board's public meeting 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.

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