California lawmakers go after plastic producers for beach debris

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Two California lawmakers tired of seeing beaches littered with plastic bottles and bags are casting blame on private companies and bringing forth a bill that would make manufacturers responsible for the mess.

The “extended producer responsibility” bill would mandate that manufacturers fix the plastic problem in California’s waterways and along its coastline. It gives them a deadline of 2024 to clean the coast, The Associated Press reported.


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Assembly Appropriations Committee members are set to vote on the bill Friday. Supporters say it’s aimed at making businesses becoming more environmentally friendly. But opponents question: How can private companies be to blame for beach-goers who throw their water bottles and soda bottles on the sand?

“This bill would establish responsibility for manufacturers alone to somehow reduce litter, and it’s unclear how the manufacturers might do that,” said Keith Christman, of the Washington, D.C.-based American Chemistry Council, in the AP report. “This is something that traditionally was a function of government working with the private sector — but this bill seeks to put all the responsibility on manufacturers.”

The California Chamber of Commerce and other businesses are opposing the bill, and say they already take an active role in promoting a clean environment and recycling efforts.

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