California City Proposes Ban on Single-Use Plastics

by | May 6, 2019

To lessen the use of plastics, city staff of Palo Alto, California are proposing legislation to ban certain single-use plastics, such as straws and utensils. If passed, the ordinance will not only ban the aforementioned plastics, but require the use of compostable or recyclable replacements.

According to the Stanford Daily, Palo Alto sends about 75% of its recycling overseas because of the lack of domestic markets, and though it is possible for the city to continually divert this recycling to countries in Southeast Asia, domestic recycling facilities are starting to realize that there’s a better solution: to reduce waste locally.

And new solutions are needed. Recently enacted policies in China are making it difficult to send recycling there. In April 2018, the Chinese government announced plans to start levying a 25% tariff on old corrugated cardboard, recovered fiber, scrap plastic, and a number of virgin plastics in retaliation for the latest American tariff proposals. The list, issued August 8, 2018 by China’s Ministry of Commerce, identifies scrap PET, PE, PVC, PS and other plastics among the product codes that would be affected.

The proposed ban on certain single-use plastics will be discussed at a Palo Alto City Council meeting May 20.

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