It’s Friday, July 1, and California lawmakers have declared a momentous victory against plastic pollution.

In a big win for the environment, California Governor Gavin Newsom approved a far-reaching bill to reduce plastic production, signing it into law on Thursday evening. The Plastic Pollution Producer Responsibility Act, widely considered the strongest plastic reduction policy in the country, requires a 25 percent reduction in the amount of single-use plastic packaging and foodware made in the state — both by weight and by the number of items — within the next 10 years.

The bill zoomed through the California Legislature this week, passing the state Assembly by 66 to 1 on Wednesday evening before clearing the Senate without opposition on Thursday morning. “This was an example of the legislature doing its work, coming together, forging a meaningful strong compromise that will put California at the forefront of addressing a major global problem,” said Senator Ben Allen, a Democrat and the bill’s primary sponsor, speaking on the Senate floor on Thursday.

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Anja Brandon, U.S. plastics policy analyst for the nonprofit Ocean Conservancy, applauded the bill for requiring plastic companies to actually eliminate much of their packaging and foodware — not just replace it with single-use items made out of non-plastic materials. According to her analysis, the bill will prevent nearly 23 million tons of plastic waste from being generated in California over the next 10 years — a “mind-boggling” amount that’s equivalent to more than 26 times the weight of the Golden Gate Bridge.

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Other parts of the bill mandate that California achieve a 65 percent recycling rate for plastics by 2032 and that companies make all of their single-use packaging and foodware recyclable or compostable by the same year, even if it isn’t made of plastic. The bill also requires plastic companies to contribute $500 million to a pollution mitigation fund every year for the next 10 years.

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