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Senate Bill 54 Will Force Significant Change for the Plastic and Packaging Industries

If they want to do business in California, big and small companies alike will need to challenge long-standing practices to reduce negative environmental impacts of plastic and packaging.

Senate Bill 54 (SB 54)

Recently, California Governor Gavin Newsom, signed Senate Bill 54 (SB 54) which requires 100 percent of packaging produced in the state to be recyclable or compostable by 2032. In addition, overall packaging production is to decrease 25 percent, and 65 percent of all single-use plastic packaging is to be recycled.

With such a broad scope policy action, the feasibility and effectiveness of this regulation to reduce plastic pollution overall are uncertain. However, the state of California has historically spearheaded ambitious environmental policies that later set the bar for the whole country, such as emissions standards for motor vehicles.

According to Bloomberg, California is also poised to overtake Germany as the world’s fourth largest economy after the U.S., China, and Japan. California continues to outperform the nation and other countries in GDP growth, companies’ market value, renewable energy, and more. The legwork behind drafting and codifying SB 54 is a prime example of how the state has seamlessly integrated their economic and environmental goals (i.e. profit and the planet).

This process created 22 new CalRecycle positions and an untold number of jobs in the plastic and packaging sectors aimed at cutting waste and designing for reuse. Collectively, these new employment opportunities will serve as the backbone for the regulatory target of reducing plastic waste by 20 million tons in the next 10 years.


Today more than ever, big and small companies alike need to challenge long-standing practices and methods of doing business in an effort to reduce negative environmental impacts of plastic and packaging. This trend is now a regulatory requirement to do business in California.

SB 54 is just the tip of the regulatory iceberg. Given that California has demonstrated their commitment to reducing single-use plastics, it is not long before the rest of the nation will follow. Over time, as more states adopt similar policies, more organizations will need to rethink the materials that go into their products, switch to lower carbon impact materials, and increase the use of reclaimed and recycled materials in their manufacturing and shipping processes.

If you or your organization is ready to prepare for these inevitable mandates or are currently struggling with your waste management needs, APTIM is here to help. Our team of subject matter experts provide a wide range of solutions for measuring and managing resources and materials. We understand that you must meet state and federal regulations while continually improving your bottom-line.

Let APTIM do the heavy lifting, assess your needs, and create custom solutions.


Patti Toews
Sustainability and Waste Minimization Consultant, Permitting and Compliance

APTIM. In Pursuit of Better.

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