This year might have been the year for California to set sharp reductions in plastic packaging and single-use plastic food ware, among other plastic items. But the COVID-19 pandemic and an increased use of disposable products to avoid the risk of transmitting the virus through reused items appear to have halted this effort. A ballot initiative and bills in the senate and assembly, if enacted into law, would have slashed waste generated by single-use packaging and some single-use products by 75 percent by 2030. But now, the California Recycling and Plastic Pollution Reduction Act – which was headed to the November ballot – SB 54, and AB 1080 are likely on hold until at least 2021.

This may give manufacturers, distributors, and retailers more time to retool their products. California’s plastic-reduction efforts are part of a global effort to end the flow of plastics and microplastics into our environment. It’s also part of a “circular economy” movement, which seeks to design and produce products with materials that can be reused or recycled, rather than landfilled at the end of their useful lives.

So, while California voters and lawmakers may not take action this year, change is certainly on the way.