SACRAMENTO – Today, Assemblymember Mark Stone (D-Monterey Bay) introduced AB 319, legislation that will require that, by 2020, all single-use plastic beverage containers have a cap that is tethered to the container. According to the Coastal Conservancy’s most recent data on marine debris, bottle caps were one of the top items found in beach clean-ups conducted in 2015. The size of these plastics makes them a threat to wildlife, and as they break down to smaller pieces, they are found to have an even greater environmental impact.
“Every year volunteers clean-up beaches and watersheds up and down California’s coast, and plastic bottle caps continue to be one of the most frequent items found. By requiring that those lids stay attached to the plastic bottles that consumers use, we can ensure that they are part of California’s successful recycling programs and not in landfills or the environment,” said Assemblymember Stone. “Californians have been very clear about their desire to protect our communities from plastic pollution, and AB 319 is a clear step in pursuing that intent.”
In addition to the harm to the coastal environment, plastic debris is a drain on local economies. A 2013 report commissioned by the Natural Defense Resources Council reported that California cities, towns, and taxpayers are shouldering $428 million per year in costs to stop litter from becoming pollution that harms the environment, tourism and other economic activity.
"Plastic bottle cap waste poses a unique threat to our ocean and environment. It is one of the most common trash items found on our beaches, river banks, and sloughs. The small size and buoyancy of the caps make them very mobile and easy for wildlife to ingest. They are also made of a particular plastic polymer that can break down quickly and act as a magnet for bacteria and other toxins that have been known to impact water quality and trick wildlife into thinking the caps are food,” said Katherine O'Dea, Executive Director of Save Our Shores. “To put plastic bottle cap waste into perspective, Save Our Shores removes an average of 7,500 plastic bottle caps along the Monterey Bay shoreline every year. It is a problem that requires smart policy to help abate."