Measure to Improve Efficiency in Recycling Program Passes Assembly Floor

Monday, September 11, 2017

Assemblymember Bloom’s AB 906 Will Clarify Definition of “PET”


SACRAMENTO – AB 906, a bill to resolve an issue that is literally “gumming up” California’s Beverage Container Recycling Program, passed the Assembly Floor today on a 78-0 vote. The measure, authored by Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), implements a scientifically-based definition of polyethylene terephthalate, or PET, for purposes of the program.


“Since the inception of its Beverage Container Recycling Program, California has been successful in elevating consumer awareness about recycling and reducing solid waste,” said Assemblymember Bloom. “Unfortunately, due to mislabeling, some plastic containers are improperly sorted and processed, obstructing the recycling process and causing more products to end up in landfills. Every day, Californians act as good stewards of the environment by recycling millions of plastic bottles; AB 906 will ensure that those efforts are not wasted.”


Plastic beverage containers are labeled with a code reflecting the type of resin used to produce the container.  These codes streamline the recycling process, as each type of resin is sorted and then processed differently.  Currently, there are two polymers, PET and PETG, that both fall under Resin Code 1.


PET and PETG, though classified together, react very differently to the industry-standard conditions for processing PET, in part due to PET’s much higher processing temperature. When the two materials are recycled together, PETG melts, sticking to PET chips and forming large lumps that ensnare and slow the recycling process. AB 906 will define PET based on its chemical composition and melting point, ensuring that PET and PETG are labeled with different codes and are no longer recycled together.


“While we continue to seek comprehensive solutions for the challenges facing California’s recycling program, AB 906 offers a targeted solution for one source of contamination in the recycling system,” said Assemblymember Bloom.


AB 906 now heads to the Governor for signature. 


Richard Bloom represents California’s 50th Assembly District, which comprises the communities of Agoura Hills, Bel Air, Beverly Hills, Brentwood, Hollywood, Malibu, Pacific Palisades, Santa Monica, Topanga, West Hollywood, and West Los Angeles.