Bill Text: CA AB1469 | 2021-2022 | Regular Session | Amended


Bill Title: Solid waste: plastic products: labeling: compostability and biodegradability.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2021-03-22 - Re-referred to Com. on NAT. RES. [AB1469 Detail]

Download: California-2021-AB1469-Amended.html

Amended  IN  Assembly  March 18, 2021

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 1469


Introduced by Assembly Member Santiago

February 19, 2021


An act to amend Section 25943 of the Public Resources Code, relating to energy. An act to amend Section 42357 of the Public Resources Code, relating to solid waste.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1469, as amended, Santiago. Energy: energy efficiency programs. Solid waste: plastic products: labeling: compostability and biodegradability.
Existing law prohibits a person from selling a plastic product that is labeled as “compostable” or “home compostable” unless, at the time of sale, the plastic product meets the applicable ASTM standard specification for plastics designed to be aerobically composted in municipal or industrial facilities or the OK compost HOME certification. Existing law exempts from that prohibition those plastic products that meet a subsequently revised or different standard specification adopted by the department under specified conditions, or if the plastic product is labeled with a qualified claim for which the department has adopted an existing standard, and the plastic product meets that standard. Existing law authorizes the department to otherwise make a recommendation to the Legislature if ASTM International, or any other entity, develops a new standard specification or other applicable standard for either of the terms “compostable” or “home compostable” and the department determines that the new standard for the use of the term, when compared to the current ASTM standard in effect, is more stringent and more protective of public health, public safety, and the environment, and is reflective of and consistent with state policies and programs.
This bill would prohibit a person from selling a plastic product that is labeled with the term “industrially compostable” unless, at the time of sale, the plastic product meets the applicable ASTM standard specification for plastics designed to be aerobically composted in municipal or industrial facilities, and would specify that the labeling prohibition for “compostable” or “home compostable” applies unless, at the time of sale, the plastic product has the OK compost HOME certification. The bill would additionally exempt a plastic product labeled with the term “industrially compostable,” “compostable,” or “home compostable” from the prohibition on using those terms if the plastic product meets another specification adopted by the department that is adopted or developed by ASTM International or a similar existing standards body, as provided.

Existing law requires the State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission to develop and implement a comprehensive program to achieve greater energy savings in California’s existing residential and nonresidential building stock. Existing law requires the commission to consider certain factors in developing the requirements for the program.

This bill would make nonsubstantive changes to these provisions.

Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NOYES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 (a) The Legislature finds and declares all the following:
(1) At the world’s current pace, by 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean. Californians must work to ensure that plastics do not overtake our oceans.
(2) Every year, about 8,000,000 tons of plastic waste escapes into the oceans from coastal nations. Plastics often contain additives that strengthen them, which require an estimated minimum of 400 years to break down.
(3) Millions of animals are killed by plastics every year, from birds to fish to other marine organisms. Microplastics have been found in over 100 aquatic species, including fish, shrimp, and mussels, some of which are destined for human consumption.
(4) In California, many manufacturers of synthetic materials that do not biodegrade in the environment label their products “compostable.” A reasonable consumer expects that a product labeled “compostable” will biodegrade if it ends up in natural environments, like backyard compost or the ocean. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Products that are “industrially compostable” may break down in hot industrial compost facilities, but may also break down as slowly as traditional nonbiodegradable plastic in natural environments.
(b) To address the labeling of plastic products that are misleading to consumers, resulting in consumer confusion and environmental damage, and to help reduce plastic pollution, it is the intent of the Legislature to ensure that plastic products are appropriately labeled according to the end-of-life biodegradability standards that they meet and to prohibit the label “compostable” on plastic products that do not meet a consumer’s reasonable expectation of being “home compostable.”

SEC. 2.

 Section 42357 of the Public Resources Code is amended to read:

42357.
 (a) (1) Except as provided in paragraph (3), a person shall not sell a plastic product in this state that is labeled with the either of the following:
(A) The term “compostable” or “home compostable” “industrially compostable unless, at the time of sale, the plastic product meets the applicable ASTM standard specification, as specified in paragraph (1) of subdivision (b) of Section 42356, or, if applicable, the 42356.
(B) The term “compostable” or “home compostable” unless, at the time of sale, the plastic product has OK compost HOME certification, as provided in paragraph (4).
(2) Compliance with only a section or a portion of a section of an applicable ASTM standard specification does not constitute compliance with paragraph (1).
(3) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), a person may sell a plastic product in this state that is meets either of the following conditions:
(A) The plastic product is labeled with a qualified claim for a term specified in paragraph (1), if the plastic product meets the relevant standard adopted by the department pursuant to Section 42356.2.
(B) The plastic product is labeled in compliance with a relevant standard adopted by the department pursuant to Section 42356.2, subdivision (a) of Section 42356.1, or subdivision (g).
(4) (A) A plastic product shall not be labeled with the term “home compostable” unless the manufacturer of that plastic product holds OK compost HOME certification with regard to that product, except as provided in subparagraph (B) or (C).
(B) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), if the ASTM adopts a standard specification for the term “home compostable” on or before January 1, 2016, and the department determines that the ASTM standard specification is at least equal to, or more stringent than, the OK compost HOME certification, a plastic product labeled with the term “home compostable” shall meet that ASTM standard specification. The department may also take the actions specified in Section 42356.1 with regard to an ASTM standard for home compostability.
(C) If the department adopts a standard pursuant to Section 42356.2, a plastic product labeled with the term “home compostable” shall meet that standard and not the standard specified in subparagraph (A) or (B).
(b) Except as provided in subdivision (a) or (f), a person shall not sell a plastic product in this state that is labeled with the term “biodegradable,” “degradable,” or “decomposable,” or any form of those terms, or in any way imply that the plastic product will break down, fragment, biodegrade, or decompose in a landfill or other environment.
(c) The director may issue guidelines, consistent with this chapter, for determining whether a plastic product is not compliant with the labeling requirements of this section, and whether a plastic product is designed, pigmented, or advertised in a manner that is misleading to consumers.
(d) A manufacturer or supplier, upon the request of a member of the public, shall submit to that member, within 90 days of the request, information and documentation demonstrating compliance with this chapter, in a format that is easy to understand and scientifically accurate.
(e) A product that is in compliance with this chapter shall not, solely as a result of that compliance, be deemed to be in compliance with any other applicable marketing requirement or guideline established under state law or by the Federal Trade Commission.
(f) (1) The department may adopt the European Committee for Standardization’s standard specification EN 17033:2018 entitled “Plastics—Biodegradable mulch films for use in agriculture and horticulture—Requirements and test methods” or may adopt a standard that is equivalent to, or more stringent than, that standard, as it read on January 1, 2020.
(2) A person may sell commercial agricultural mulch film labeled with the term “soil biodegradable” only if the department has adopted the standard specification, or an equivalent or more stringent standard, pursuant to paragraph (1) and the commercial agricultural mulch film is certified to meet both that specification and the ASTM standard specification for compostability.
(3) For purposes of this subdivision, “commercial agricultural mulch film” means film plastic that is used only as a technical tool in commercial farming applications.
(g) For the terms described in subdivision (a), the department may, through an open and transparent public process enabling public input, adopt one or more additional standard specifications that have been adopted or developed by ASTM International or a similar standard-setting organization for exemption from the labeling prohibition, if the department determines that the use of the standard specification will not impair the environment or mislead consumers in a manner that is inconsistent with the intent described in Section 42355.5.

SECTION 1.Section 25943 of the Public Resources Code is amended to read:
25943.

(a)(1)The commission shall establish a regulatory proceeding to develop and implement a comprehensive program to achieve greater energy savings in California’s existing residential and nonresidential building stock. This program shall comprise a complementary portfolio of techniques, applications, and practices that will achieve greater energy efficiency in existing residential and nonresidential structures that fall significantly below the current standards in Title 24 of the California Code of Regulations, as determined by the commission.

(2)The comprehensive program may include, but need not be limited to, a broad range of energy assessments, building benchmarking, energy rating, cost-effective energy efficiency improvements, public and private sector energy efficiency financing options, public outreach and education efforts, and green workforce training.

(3)The commission shall adopt, implement, and enforce a responsible contractor policy for use across all ratepayer-funded energy efficiency programs that involve installation or maintenance, or both installation and maintenance, by building contractors to ensure that retrofits meet high-quality performance standards and reduce energy savings lost or foregone due to poor-quality workmanship.

(4)The commission, in consultation with the Public Utilities Commission, shall establish consumer protection guidelines for energy efficiency products and services.

(b)To develop and implement the program specified in subdivision (a), the commission shall do both of the following:

(1)Coordinate with the Public Utilities Commission and consult with representatives from the Bureau of Real Estate, the Department of Housing and Community Development, investor-owned and publicly owned utilities, local governments, real estate licensees, commercial and homebuilders, commercial property owners, small businesses, mortgage lenders, financial institutions, home appraisers, inspectors, energy rating organizations, consumer groups, environmental and environmental justice groups, and other entities the commission deems appropriate.

(2)Hold at least three public hearings in geographically diverse locations throughout the state.

(c)In developing the requirements for the program specified in subdivision (a), the commission shall consider all of the following:

(1)The amount of annual and peak energy savings, reductions in the emissions of greenhouse gases, and projected customer utility bill savings that will accrue from the program.

(2)The most cost-effective means and reasonable timeframes to achieve the goals of the program.

(3)The various climatic zones within the state.

(4)An appropriate method to inform and educate the public about the need for, benefits of, and environmental impacts of, the comprehensive energy efficiency program.

(5)The most effective way to report the energy assessment results and the corresponding energy efficiency improvements to the owner of the residential or nonresidential building, including, among other things, the following:

(A)Prioritizing the identified energy efficiency improvements.

(B)The payback period or cost-effectiveness of each improvement identified.

(C)The various incentives, loans, grants, and rebates offered to finance the improvements.

(D)Available financing options including all of the following:

(i)Mortgages or sales agreement components.

(ii)On-bill financing.

(iii)Contractual property tax assessments.

(iv)Home warranties.

(6)Existing statutory and regulatory requirements to achieve energy efficiency savings and reductions in the emissions of greenhouse gases.

(7)A broad range of implementation approaches, including both utility and nonutility administration of energy efficiency programs, especially the use of not-for-profit and community-based organizations that assist with deployment in disadvantaged communities identified pursuant to Section 39711 of the Health and Safety Code.

(8)Workforce development and job training for residents in disadvantaged communities, including veterans, at-risk youth, and members of the state and local community conservation corps.

(9)Any other considerations deemed appropriate by the commission.

(d)The program developed pursuant to this section shall do all of the following:

(1)Minimize the overall costs of establishing and implementing the comprehensive energy efficiency program requirements.

(2)Ensure, for residential buildings, that the energy efficiency assessments, ratings, or improvements do not unreasonably or unnecessarily affect the home purchasing process or the ability of individuals to rent housing. A transfer of property subject to the program implemented pursuant to this section shall not be invalidated solely because of the failure of a person to comply with a provision of the program.

(3)Ensure, for nonresidential buildings, that the energy improvements do not have an undue economic impact on California businesses.

(4)Determine, for residential buildings, the appropriateness of the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) program to support the goals of this section and whether there are a sufficient number of HERS-certified raters available to meet the program requirements.

(5)Determine, for nonresidential structures, the availability of an appropriate cost-effective energy efficiency assessment system and whether there are a sufficient number of certified raters or auditors available to meet the program requirements.

(6)Coordinate with the California Workforce Investment Board, the Employment Training Panel, the California Community Colleges, and other entities to ensure a qualified, well-trained workforce is available to implement the program requirements.

(7)Promote greater project penetration in disadvantaged communities identified pursuant to Section 39711 of the Health and Safety Code, including the deployment of energy efficiency surveys and audits, energy efficiency retrofits and upgrades, weatherization, and followup project inspections by state-certified community conservation corps and other community-based workforce development organizations that serve residents of disadvantaged communities, including veterans and disadvantaged youth.

(8)Coordinate with, and avoid duplication of, existing proceedings of the Public Utilities Commission and programs administered by utilities.

(e)A home energy rating or energy assessment service does not meet the requirements of this section unless the service has been certified by the commission to be in compliance with the program criteria developed pursuant to this section and is in conformity with other applicable elements of the program.

(f)(1)The commission shall periodically update the criteria and adopt any revision that, in its judgment, is necessary to improve or refine program requirements after receiving public input.

(2)On or before January 1, 2017, and at least once every three years thereafter, the commission shall adopt an update to the program in furtherance of achieving a cumulative doubling of statewide energy efficiency savings in electricity and natural gas final end uses of retail customers by January 1, 2030.

(g)Before implementing an element of the program developed pursuant to subdivision (a) that requires the expansion of statutory authority of the commission or the Public Utilities Commission, the commission and the Public Utilities Commission shall obtain legislative approval for the expansion of their authorities.

(h)The commission shall report on the status of the program in the integrated energy policy report pursuant to Section 25302.

(i)The commission shall fund activities undertaken pursuant to this section from the Federal Trust Fund consistent with the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-5) or other sources of nonstate funds available to the commission for the purposes of this section.

(j)For purposes of this section, the following definitions apply:

(1)“Energy assessment” means a determination of an energy user’s energy consumption level, relative efficiency compared to other users, and opportunities to achieve greater efficiency or improve energy resource utilization.

(2)“Energy efficiency” means delivering equal or more services with less energy input from an energy source.

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