CA Commission asks Recycling Label to be removed from CA "super thick" plastic bags

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Re: CA Commission asks Recycling Label to be removed from CA "super thick" plastic bags

Post by veteran+ »

Well, this is not a California problem. It is all over the country and most parts of the world.

Perhaps the problem is that California is trying, ineffectively, to do SOMETHING and failing.

Recylcling bins are for show and to make people feel good. About the only market for recycling that works is the Green one (trees, bushes, foliage trimmings, etc.).

The non bio recycling market has been contracting for years because of the inability to properly monetize the biz and because of low demand for the product and an unwillingness to pay for the product.
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Re: CA Commission asks Recycling Label to be removed from CA "super thick" plastic bags

Post by storewanderer »

veteran+ wrote: January 3rd, 2022, 9:14 am Well, this is not a California problem. It is all over the country and most parts of the world.

Perhaps the problem is that California is trying, ineffectively, to do SOMETHING and failing.

Recylcling bins are for show and to make people feel good. About the only market for recycling that works is the Green one (trees, bushes, foliage trimmings, etc.).

The non bio recycling market has been contracting for years because of the inability to properly monetize the biz and because of low demand for the product and an unwillingness to pay for the product.
If the manufacturers were required to use recycled material they would. So the current CA law requries those super thick bags to have 40% post consumer recycled content. Where are they getting it from? They must be getting it from somewhere.

Looking at the thin bags I have sitting around I see a few that say 10% post recycled consumer content, the ones from Target say 40% post consumer recycled content. But most say nothing.

It seems to me they needed to just push a law in that required a higher percentage of post consumer recycled content to be used in the thin bags. And go ahead and add a bag fee in there to discourage over use, sure. I suppose it can't be 100% post consumer recycled content but maybe it can be 80%. If these retailers and manufacturers were forced, they would do what is necessary to comply, which I'm sure would cost less than the current model with these super thick bags costs and would certainly be better for the environment. But if efforts to collect the thin plastic film get shut down, then the whole effort collapses.

Now as a result of things CA has done, they just have more plastic than ever being used. Super thick plastic bags, more food places switching to plastic cups who used paper cups before, etc.

Again the reason I brought this topic up is to point out what I find to be completely nuts that these groups are trying to pull a recycling label off something that is recyclable and is using 6-10 times more plastic than the old thin bag that they banned... instead they should be pushing to make the recycling actually happen. I see many customers return bags to stores in those bins, read many customers complaining online when the bins were removed during COVID, and I see many people using single stream recycling pick up with trash collection. I think people are very willing to recycle. If the manufacturers are not following through with their end of the deal and actually recycling stuff then something needs to be done to make that start happening.
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Re: CA Commission asks Recycling Label to be removed from CA "super thick" plastic bags

Post by veteran+ »

Yes, I agree, but.........................

It's not only the manufacturers and retailers.

The whole process is a problem from collection to sorting to sanitation to payroll to, will someone buy this at a price where we can continue operating efficiently and profitably?

The sorting process alone is a nightmare.
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Re: CA Commission asks Recycling Label to be removed from CA "super thick" plastic bags

Post by HCal »

storewanderer wrote: January 2nd, 2022, 6:14 pm So if that is the case, we shouldn't have the curbside recycling bins either... what is the use of them if it all ends up in a landfill?
I think those bins are still useful for some materials (particularly aluminum and glass) which are still recycled. Plastic, to my knowledge, hasn't been recycled in much of the US ever since China decided to stop accepting it in 2018.
storewanderer wrote: January 2nd, 2022, 6:14 pm Also in 2020 those super thick bags being distributed in CA are required to have a minimum of 40% "post consumer recycled content." From 2016-2019 it was a 20% post consumer recycled content requirement. If the recycling programs are failing, where are those manufacturers getting the "post consumer recycled content" to manufacture the CA-compliant super thick plastic bags?
Probably from recycled plastic bottles would be my guess. Plastic degrades each time it is recycled, so it is typically made into a less durable product. My understanding is that thin plastic, like bags, cannot be easily recycled into plastic, so it is usually made into composite lumber or used as a filler.
storewanderer wrote: January 2nd, 2022, 6:14 pm Rather than repealing AB 2449 effective January 1, 2020, in light of the various impacted liquor license holding retailers that were already handing out super thick plastic bags and only super thick plastic bags in their CA Stores, not a paper bag in sight (notably- CVS, Rite Aid, Target, and Wal Mart), that collection law should have been continued and perhaps made stronger/enhanced to get this material collected. How do you do this? You probably have to charge 25 cents for the bag then rebate the customer 15 cents for each bag they return, like the bottle deposit programs (what a mess). Or you need to force the curbside programs to take these bags and separate them and turn them over to the groups that will actually recycle them into new bags (which must exist since the CA super thick bags are made from 40% post consumer recycled content)...
Getting bags collected is one thing, but if there is no demand for them, then they are going to end up in the trash regardless.
storewanderer wrote: January 2nd, 2022, 6:14 pmNow in 2020 and 2021 I have been into various stores operated by grocers including Albertsons/Safeway/Vons, Grocery Outlet, and some independents who also offer super thick CA-compliant plastic bags and only those (no paper bags in sight). Safeway NorCal does get paper bags into some select stores but at other stores they just don't send them. Something about a paper bag shortage.

This whole thing is nothing but a huge mess. One bad solution after another has been implemented here and it dates back decades. And to think in the 90's they said the thin bags were "better for the environment."
I agree that it's a huge mess, but at this point, I think the best thing to do is switch to paper entirely. This action by the commission should be able to accomplish that, if it is successful. Right now, since paper bags seem to cost more than reusable plastic bags but the mandated charge is the same for both, few stores use paper.

Of course, this would be contingent on fixing the paper bag supply chain, which is a whole other question.
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Re: CA Commission asks Recycling Label to be removed from CA "super thick" plastic bags

Post by Alpha8472 »

Many plastic items that carry the recycle logo are theoretically recyclable, but in reality only about 9 percent of that is actually recyclable. Plastic recycling is often dirty and contaminated and cannot be recycled. Most of it is thrown in landfills or incinerated. There is only a small market for plastic recycling, and it is not very profitable.

Glass, aluminum, metal, paper, and cardboard are easily recycled and there is a market for these items.

Yes, they need to make paper bags more cost effective than plastic. They also need to improve the supply chain so stores can actually get paper bags.
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Re: CA Commission asks Recycling Label to be removed from CA "super thick" plastic bags

Post by storewanderer »

HCal wrote: January 10th, 2022, 4:18 am
storewanderer wrote: January 2nd, 2022, 6:14 pm So if that is the case, we shouldn't have the curbside recycling bins either... what is the use of them if it all ends up in a landfill?
I think those bins are still useful for some materials (particularly aluminum and glass) which are still recycled. Plastic, to my knowledge, hasn't been recycled in much of the US ever since China decided to stop accepting it in 2018.
storewanderer wrote: January 2nd, 2022, 6:14 pm Also in 2020 those super thick bags being distributed in CA are required to have a minimum of 40% "post consumer recycled content." From 2016-2019 it was a 20% post consumer recycled content requirement. If the recycling programs are failing, where are those manufacturers getting the "post consumer recycled content" to manufacture the CA-compliant super thick plastic bags?
Probably from recycled plastic bottles would be my guess. Plastic degrades each time it is recycled, so it is typically made into a less durable product. My understanding is that thin plastic, like bags, cannot be easily recycled into plastic, so it is usually made into composite lumber or used as a filler.
storewanderer wrote: January 2nd, 2022, 6:14 pm Rather than repealing AB 2449 effective January 1, 2020, in light of the various impacted liquor license holding retailers that were already handing out super thick plastic bags and only super thick plastic bags in their CA Stores, not a paper bag in sight (notably- CVS, Rite Aid, Target, and Wal Mart), that collection law should have been continued and perhaps made stronger/enhanced to get this material collected. How do you do this? You probably have to charge 25 cents for the bag then rebate the customer 15 cents for each bag they return, like the bottle deposit programs (what a mess). Or you need to force the curbside programs to take these bags and separate them and turn them over to the groups that will actually recycle them into new bags (which must exist since the CA super thick bags are made from 40% post consumer recycled content)...
Getting bags collected is one thing, but if there is no demand for them, then they are going to end up in the trash regardless.
storewanderer wrote: January 2nd, 2022, 6:14 pmNow in 2020 and 2021 I have been into various stores operated by grocers including Albertsons/Safeway/Vons, Grocery Outlet, and some independents who also offer super thick CA-compliant plastic bags and only those (no paper bags in sight). Safeway NorCal does get paper bags into some select stores but at other stores they just don't send them. Something about a paper bag shortage.

This whole thing is nothing but a huge mess. One bad solution after another has been implemented here and it dates back decades. And to think in the 90's they said the thin bags were "better for the environment."
I agree that it's a huge mess, but at this point, I think the best thing to do is switch to paper entirely. This action by the commission should be able to accomplish that, if it is successful. Right now, since paper bags seem to cost more than reusable plastic bags but the mandated charge is the same for both, few stores use paper.

Of course, this would be contingent on fixing the paper bag supply chain, which is a whole other question.
Switching to paper entirely won't work because the supply chain is not there. Functionally, the bags cost more, the bags are more difficult to work with, and the bags are not easy to carry around. Also paper bags are not exactly great for the environment, it takes a lot of water (and we keep hearing there is no water out here in CA) to make the paper bags and you cut down trees in the process.

Have seen paper bags from China and Vietnam at certain stores. The ones from China were terrible and the particular NorCal grocer who was using them to keep a constant supply of paper bags between their usual paper bags seems to have finally stopped using them. The ones from Vietnam functionally seemed no different than any other paper bag I've seen. It seems even the import market can't make enough paper bags to keep up with demand.

If there is so much plastic out there that is being collected for "recycling" but isn't actually being recycled, it seems the perfect solution is to force these people making the plastic bags to put in 80%-100% "post consumer recycled content" into the bags. At least it would create a market for some of these plastic bottles and containers that are going into recycling but then supposedly not getting recycled. The plastic isn't going away, maybe this can be a way to force some recycled stuff to actually be used.

Bottom line is the plastic isn't going away, if anything it is becoming even more common, and I'm referring to in general, not just in bags. I had a heck of a time recently finding a bottle of olive oil in a glass bottle. It was almost all in plastic.
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Re: CA Commission asks Recycling Label to be removed from CA "super thick" plastic bags

Post by Alpha8472 »

Plastic leaches chemicals into food and can alter the taste of certain foods. I work in a pharmacy and certain medications cannot be put in plastic containers because the plastic leaches chemicals that can alter the medications.

Glass is better as it does not release chemicals that alter food or medications. Ever since plastic containers were introduced there have been many more cases of disorders in humans.
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Re: CA Commission asks Recycling Label to be removed from CA "super thick" plastic bags

Post by storewanderer »

Alpha8472 wrote: January 10th, 2022, 7:58 pm Plastic leaches chemicals into food and can alter the taste of certain foods. I work in a pharmacy and certain medications cannot be put in plastic containers because the plastic leaches chemicals that can alter the medications.

Glass is better as it does not release chemicals that alter food or medications. Ever since plastic containers were introduced there have been many more cases of disorders in humans.
Yes, and certain food products that were hold outs and kept being packaged in glass, I am seeing, more and more, transition to plastic in the past 5 years. Items like pickles, certain brands have moved to plastic containers. The olive oil as I cited above, many brands are in plastic now, used to be almost all glass (or the big huge tin cans).

Frankly I'd rather see less plastic food packaging especially in items where the food is a liquid and sitting in the container for a long time period (like the oil or pickles described above) and am not really as concerned with a plastic bag that items are put in or loose items (like, say, cookies) where the plastic isn't going to leech into the food or beverage.
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