California bills on right-to-repair bottles, right-to-repair, plastic reduction
Advocates expect Gov. Gavin Newsom to sign a long-awaited bill to restore the right to repair. The state is also preparing to include juice into the bottle bill, and to establish laws that will help to advance SB 54 goals.
California state flag and state capitol building in Sacramento DustyPixel via Getty Images
Recycling and waste bills that are not recyclable are heading to California Governor. Gavin Newsom’s desk after the legislative session in California is over.
If these bills pass, California will become the first state to pass right-to repair legislation for electronics used by consumers, and it will increase the bottle tax to include juice bottles and change its recycling center’s payment system. The state is also preparing to adopt a new statute which will affect waste hauler franchise agreements if there is a labor dispute in the midst.
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It wasn’t as busy a year for recycling-related legislation when compared to 2022, in which the legislature approved SB 54, which is the landmark legislation on extended responsibility for packaging and paper, which also set statewide plastic reduction and recycling targets. The bills have been passed this year are designed to aid in helping California accelerate its efforts to be in compliance to SB 54 by banning most plastic gift cards, creating an advisory group to find alternatives to single-use plastic, and the clarification of some confusing words in the text of the original SB 54 bill text.
California is poised to become the first state to adopt a right-to-repair law in the coming year. Sources expect Gov. Newsom will sign the prominent bill, which received the support of not only long-time repair advocates, but also from Apple who has historically opposed legislation like this but now believes the bill strikes the right balance to allow repair options, without creating intellectual property or data security issues. HP has also declared its support for the bill.
This bill will require makers of consumer electronics as well as some appliances to supply spare parts, diagnostic information and service guides to customers and repair companies from third parties. The bill would also punish manufacturers that do not comply. According to supporters, the bill will reduce the amount of electronic devices that end up in the trash.
Right-to-repair is becoming more popular across the nation. In 2023, around thirty states have introduced a right-to-repair laws. New York passed its right-to-repair law the year before, followed by Minnesota and Colorado this year.
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Californians Against Waste, CalPIRG and iFixIt co-sponsored the bill. “Consumer groups, environmentalists, repair shop owners and more have been calling for the right to repair for 6 years, and we’re finally on the verge of fixing Californians’ laws so we can fix our stuff,” said Jenn Engstrom, the state director of CALPIRG through an email.
A coalition of opposing organizations including TechNet, the California Chamber of Commerce, Consumer Technology Association, Internet Coalition and TechNet and TechNet, said that the bill does not do enough to safeguard OEM manufacturers in addition to “undermines” businesses that are members of OEM-authorized networks.
SB353 Add juice containers to the bill for bottles and adjusting recycling center fees
California continues to increase the size of the bottle-bill program, but this time, adding the majority of fruit and vegetable juice containers beginning in January. 1. If it is signed, the bill will mark the most recent version of the program from last year when state lawmakers voted to approve an expansion which added wine and winecontainers into the system in 2024.
The Container Recycling Institute, a bill-supporter, estimates that the new juice container could add more than 188 thousand containers, and increase the return rate on deposits.
The bill will also change the formula for payment that funds recycling centers. This is intended to prevent recycling facilities from closing in the event that scrap prices fluctuate. This bill “will make the system more responsive to market forces,” said Sally Houghton, executive director of the Plastic Recycling Corporation of California in a declaration. “This will help get more containers recycled and turned back into bottles in a cost-effective manner.”
Republic Services, along with the West Coast chapter of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries and many recycling and deposit centers throughout the state, are in support of the bill.