Recycling Overhaul Keys: Standardized Compliance Path, Infrastructure

Overhauling California’s recycling market requires a balance of the right mandates with a compliance pathway, California Chamber of Commerce Policy Advocate Adam Regele told legislators this week at an informational joint hearing on plastic use in California.

The joint hearing, held on November 16 by the Assembly Natural Resources Committee and Recycling Select Committee, focused mostly on the problems plastic pollution has on communities and the natural environment, with some committee-selected panelists suggesting increasing recycling fees or banning plastic single use packaging.

Regele testified that the CalChamber wants to be part of the solution that provides business with a compliance pathway. He emphasized that in order to create a circular economy in California, there needs to be statewide standardization that provides predictability for companies to design and invest toward. The current patchwork of local requirements and approaches to recycling is incongruous with a statewide approach and the broader state objective of scaling the program beyond California’s borders, he said.

Lastly, Regele pointed out that additional investments in recycling and composting infrastructure will be critical to meeting California’s waste diversion goals, and has the co-benefit of providing good paying jobs within the state.

The need for more infrastructure in California is supported by Cal Recycle reports stating that “[t]here is minimal manufacturing infrastructure in California for recycled glass, paper, plastic . . . in terms of the number of facilities and the estimated throughput . . . with the supply . . .exceed[ing] the manufacturing capacity by more than 300 percent.

A recording of the hearing is available in the Assembly media archives at www.assembly.ca.gov.

Staff Contact: Adam Regele

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Adam Regele
Adam Regele joined the CalChamber in April 2018 as a policy advocate specializing in environmental policy, housing and land use, and product regulation issues. He came to CalChamber after practicing law at Oakland-based Meyers, Nave, Riback, Silver & Wilson, PLC, where he advised private and public clients on complex projects involving land use and environmental laws and regulations at the local, state and federal levels. Before entering private practice, Regele served as a federal judicial law clerk to the Honorable Edward J. Davila of the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California. Regele earned a B.S. in environmental science at the University of California, Berkeley, and a J.D. from UC Hastings College of Law, where he was symposium editor and research and development editor for the Hastings West-Northwest Journal.