Despite heavy lobbying by the plastics and manufacturing industries, the California Senate has passed the California Circular Economy and Plastic Pollution Reduction Act, which would establish the policy that by 2030, manufacturers and retailers must achieve a 75 percent reduction of waste generated from single-use packaging and products through source reduction, recycling or composting.
This is huge. The ramifications for the consumer goods industry is staggering. If you have a product or store that sells to the California market, you will have to comply. The cost to have two types of packaging; one for California and one for the rest of the world will be too much for many companies. Many will simply comply and roll out the new type of packaging to all markets. Others that have much larger and global supply chains will continue and will likely find it cheaper (in the short term) to simply create products specifically for California. But what this really does is show the plastic industry that the writing is on the wall. Large markets can simply be removed from traditional plastic producers with one stroke of the pen – ultimately reducing the amount of plastic pollution that clogs waterways and covers beaches.
Other governments are sure to notice. Globally, the plastic pollution problem is being talked about at all levels of government. If the state of California can do it, so too can federal and municipal governments all over the world.
In other top happy eco news stories, Scotland has so much surplus wind energy that is selling to other markets. The windy country has twice the amount of power it needs. In 2018 Scottish Power, became the first utility in the UK to divest of fossil fuel power generation. In Vancouver, the city has plans to convert human waste sludge into energy. I don’t know if you could call it “clean energy” but it is definitely a good idea to use waste products rather than discard them. A hospital in Boston has a 2300 square foot organic farm on its roof that provides healthy and nutritious food to its patients – up to 7000 pounds of it per year. The garden also reduces heating and cooling costs and slows the amount of rainwater that runs into city storm sewers. In the article titled “The Climate Crisis and the Case for Hope”, the writer argues that despite the almost overwhelming pushback from the fossil fuel industry dinosaurs, the case for hope is stronger than ever. The grass roots movements by Greta Thunberg and the Extinction rebellion are growing to include millions of people of all ages and a green new deal is becoming a reality across partisan lines.