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A Voice for our Ocean

California’s First Rule Making for SB 54 is a Step In the Right Direction to End Ocean Plastic Pollution

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Santa Cruz, CA – Yesterday, CalRecycle closed the comment period for the first formal rulemaking process for California’s SB54, a groundbreaking law that Ocean Conservancy helped draft and champion in 2022 and will eliminate 23 million tons of plastics in the next 10 years in California alone. 

These regulations, drafted by CalRecycle and first released at the end of December, are critical to the success of the bill as they clarify the law and outline how CalRecycle – the state agency overseeing the bill – will implement it. Ocean Conservancy worked with The California Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, Monterey Bay Aquarium, and Oceana to submit public comments, and Dr. Anja Brandon, Ocean Conservancy’s Associate Director of U.S. Plastics Policy, an environmental engineer who was integral to the passage of SB54, released the following statement:

“Passing SB 54 got the ball to the 50-yard line, and this implementation process will determine whether we score a touchdown and achieve the transformational change that our ocean needs. As with all legislation, the devil is in the details, and we urge CalRecycle to provide additional clarity in key areas – including support for reuse and refill systems, how recycling rates will be calculated, and other details. 

“If implemented correctly, SB 54 will impact every single item sold in California and will result in less plastics on our shelves and ultimately, less plastic pollution. The ocean and the world are counting on us to get this right.”


Note to Reporters:

Ocean Conservancy’s comments include: 

  • Urging additional clarity surrounding the development of reuse and refill systems, which is a key component of the source reduction mandate in the law. (§18980.1(34), pages 6-7) 
  • Pushing back on the use of adjustments in the source reduction calculation to ensure single-use plastics are reduced by the full 25% as laid out in the law. (§18980.8.3, page 16)
  • Requesting additional clarity on the recycling rate calculations, which is key as all plastics must meet a 65% recycling rate by 2032. (§18980.3.2, pages 9-10) 
  • Advocating for public transparency throughout the implementation process to restore Californians’ trust in the waste management system. 

Ocean Conservancy worked alongside partners to submit extensive comments, available HERE

More information about SB 54 is available in a fact sheet HERE or blog HERE.

About Ocean Conservancy

Ocean Conservancy is working to protect the ocean from today’s greatest global challenges. Together with our partners, we create evidence-based solutions for a healthy ocean and the wildlife and communities that depend on it. For more information, visit or follow us on FacebookX (formerly Twitter), or Instagram.

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