How does California's new bill on recycling impact fashion brands?

Jan 14, 2022
“October 2021, California signed Bill 343, prohibiting the use of misleading recycling claims on non-recyclable products and packaging, aiming to reduce single-use trash pollution and support recycling goals.

California wants to ensure recycling claims on products and packaging are real

Recyclability of a product or packaging can be different from one state to another in the US. The same applies and is also true in Europe. With this new regulation, California aims to ensure that any product or packaging put in the market provides reliable information to consumers to increase and motivate recycling.

• Any chasing arrows or recyclability claim will be prohibited unless it is pre-approved

• Products can only be labelled “recyclable” if the material collection covers more than 60% of the state

• A tolerance of 18 months after the list is released will be given to ensure all “deceptive or misleading” language and symbols are removed.

The date of application of this new regulation is yet to be confirmed. On or before January 2024, a tool will be offered to brands by the public entity in charge, CalRecycle, to evaluate whether products are recyclable or not for all companies in the state of California.

What can brands do to be ready?

1. Brands selling in California should start reviewing all their packaging material composition and keep record of it. This will ensure quick verification of its recyclability as soon as the tool from CalRecycle is available.

2. Because single-material packaging has a higher chance to be recyclable, brands are encouraged to consider alternative options to their current multi-material composition packaging.

How can Trimco help?

1. Trimco’s sustainable packaging solutions are continuously evolving to offer brands sustainably manufactured options and allowing to close the loop

2. The information on material composition for Trimco’s packaging collection is continuously updated to provide brands with accurate advice and direction in this matter. Trimco can supply all details needed to align with environmental labelling claims regulations such as the Californian one, the French (Triman) or the Italian.

3. The Track and Trace solution provided by Trimco allows brands to monitor their packaging consumption per category, such as organic, recyclable or non-recyclable.

Sources: Intertek, CalRecycle and The National Law Review

Later Edit: The state of New York has forwarded two Bills that cover the same initiative as California, although these are yet to be passed. These initiatives show an international trend that brands need to prepare for and act upon. Trimco Group can support with a variety of sustainable packaging choices and can support with signage compliance. Sources: NY State Assembly Bill A10185 / NY State Assembly Bill A7668

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