Leash the Lid Legislation

Date: 17 Feb 2017 | posted in: waste - zero waste, Waste to Wealth | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

California Assembly Member Mark Stone (D, 29th Assembly District – Monterrey, Santa Cruz and Santa Clara Counties) introduced Assembly Bill 319, which would prohibit retailers, by 2020, from selling beverages in bottles with a cap that is not tethered to the container. The Save the Albatross Coalition considers “Leash the Lid” legislation an important policy tool for protecting the iconic Albatross and other ocean life threatened by plastic pollution.

Bottle caps are one of the most frequent items found at annual beach and watershed clean-ups, threatening wildlife that thinks the caps are food source and costing local communities millions of dollars to address the plastic debris. In particular the Albatross is vulnerable as floating caps appear as food, which is then eaten and regurgitated for their young.

Photos of how bottle caps are collected at Punto Limpios, “clean points” in Chile. One receptacle is made from an old boom box with the top cut out. There is no local market for this material. Artists use them. Photos courtesy of Charles Moore

“By requiring that those lids stay attached to the plastic bottles that consumers use we can ensure that they are part of California’s successful recycling programs and not in landfills or the environment,” Assembly Member Stone said. “Californians have been very clear about their desire to protect our communities from plastic pollution, and AB 319 is a clear step in pursuing that intent.” (see California bill would require tether between plastic bottles and their caps, Sacramento Bee, February 8, 2017 and  Leash Your Lid!|A Call to Action to become an ocean hero.)

In the 1970s, the beverage industry proactively replaced pull-tabs on cans with today’s stay-on tabs, eradicating small metal pieces that polluted streets and beaches.

In 2009, a ‘Leash the Lid’ bill was proposed by Assembly Member Lori Saldana but did not move forward in the Senate. See this story

In addition to his role at ILSR, Neil Seldman is Co-chair of the Save the Albatross Coalition, with Captain Charles Moore, Algalita Marine Research and Education, Long Beach, CA. (Algalita.org). The Save the Albatross Coalition is a project of Zero Waste USA (zerowasteusa.org).




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Neil Seldman

Neil Seldman, Ph.D, directs the Waste to Wealth Initiative. He specializes in helping cities and businesses recover increasing amounts of materials from the waste stream and add value to the local economy through new processing and manufacturing facilities. He is a co-founder of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance.