California bans export of most mixed plastics

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Container ship under Golden Gate Bridge
A container ship under San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge

US State California has voted to ban the export of most mixed plastics, with only certain mixed plastics exempt.

California’s state legislature will consider mixed plastics to be diverted through recycling and shall be considered as disposal for the purposes of plastics. Therefore, exports of mixed plastics will not be permitted.

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However, if the material is a mixture of plastics wastes containing PE, PP and PET, and the export is destined for separate recycling of each, then it will be allowed to be exported. This will only apply to countries where import of these materials under these criteria are permitted.

The rules do not apply to Canada and Mexico due to federal trade agreements with those countries.

Additionally, anybody who exports, brokers or hauls any recyclables will need to submit information to California’s Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery on the types, quantities and destinations of materials that are disposed of, sold or transferred.

The bill will now be passed to California Governor Gavin Newsom for his final approval or veto.

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