New California Law Limits Use of “Chasing Arrows” Recycling Symbol
The state of California has enacted new law restricting the use of the familiar “arrow hunting” symbol indicating recyclability. While aimed at helping consumers know which materials are suitable for the “blue bin”, SB 343 (“Truth in Labeling for Recyclable Materials”) imposes new advertising and labeling restrictions, as well as new responsibilities. documentation, product and packaging manufacturers. The new law expands California’s existing “Truth in Environmental Advertising” law to mislead or mislead the use of the chasing arrows symbol or any other suggestion that a product or packaging is recyclable, unless the material does not meet statewide recyclability criteria to be developed by the California Department of Recycling and Resource Recovery (CalRecycle). SB 343 comes into effect on January 1, 2024.
Under the new law, unless otherwise specified, all products and packaging that display a chasing arrows symbol must meet specific statewide recyclability criteria, including that “the product or packaging is of a type and form of material collected for recycling by recycling programs for jurisdictions that collectively encompass at least 60% of the population of the state ‘and that the material is treated through a recycling process defined stream by high volume transfer or processing facilities that collectively serve at least 60% of statewide recycling programs, with “the defined streams sent and recovered to a recovery facility in accordance with requirements of the Basel Convention.
SB 343 exempts from recyclability requirements a product or packaging that “has a demonstrated recycling rate of at least 75%, which means that at least 75% of the product or packaging sorted and aggregated in the state is reprocessed into new products or packaging ”.
To be considered “recyclable”, products and packaging must also meet the following criteria, where applicable:
- Plastic and non-plastic products and packaging must not include non-recyclable components, inks, adhesives or labels that prevent recycling of the product or packaging.
- The product or packaging does not contain certain intentionally added chemicals.
- The product or packaging is not made from plastics or fibers that contain perfluoroalkyl or polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) substances at 100 parts per million or more or contain PFAS that a manufacturer has intentionally added for functional effect or technique in the product or packaging.
SB 343 also applies to resin identification codes. California law requires that all rigid plastic bottles and rigid plastic containers sold in the state be labeled with a code indicating the resin used to produce the bottles or containers, with specified letters and numbers placed on the label. inside a triangle. The law now prohibits the placement of a chasing arrows symbol around the resin identification code, unless the rigid plastic bottle or rigid plastic container meets the requirements for scale-up recyclability. ‘State.
It is important to note that the new law provides that a wholesaler or retailer who does not initiate a recyclability representation by advertising or placing the representation on packaging will not be considered to have made the representation.
In addition, if a product or packaging contains more than one type of material, a chained arrows symbol or a statement indicating its recyclability is permitted on the outer packaging if it is clearly stated which components of the product or packaging are not. not recyclable.
Collecting CalRecycle Status Data
The new law requires CalRecycle:
- Collect data from disposal facility operators and others on how materials are collected or processed by the facilities and what types of materials are collected.
- Assess whether a product or packaging is recyclable as is and can be used as a “raw material” to make new products and packaging.
- Conduct a study of materials that are collected, sorted, sold or transferred by solid waste management facilities, publish their findings on its website and update as necessary.
The law does not apply to any product or packaging manufactured until 18 months after the date of publication by CalRecycle of its first material characterization study or before January 1, 2024, whichever is later.
Advertising and labeling documentation
In the advertising and labeling of a product, the use of the symbol and / or terms representing chasing arrows, including “environmental choice”, “environmentally friendly”, “environmentally friendly”, “Environmentally friendly”, “green”, “environmentally friendly”, “ecologically safe”, “ecologically safe” and “green product” must now be supported by the following documentation:
- Explanation of why the representation is true.
- Any significant negative impact on the environment directly associated with the production, distribution, use and disposal of the product.
- Any measure taken to reduce the environmental impacts directly associated with the production, distribution and disposal of the product.
- Violations of any federal, state or local license directly associated with the production or distribution of the product.
- If, if applicable, the product meets the uniform standards of the Federal Trade Commission Guidelines for Environmental Marketing Claims Regarding the Use of the Terms “Recycled,” “Recyclable,” “Biodegradable,” “Photodegradable”, or “Without danger to the ozone layer ”.
- If the product meets all statewide recyclability criteria in accordance with subsection (d) of article 42355.51 of the Public Resources Code, when the term “recyclable” or the chasing arrows symbol is used or a consumer is otherwise advised to recycle the product.
This documentation must be made available to the public upon request.
Certain other exceptions to the law apply. Displaying the chaser arrows symbol or directing a consumer to recycle a product will not be considered misleading if any of the following conditions apply:
- Product is required by all Federal or California regulations, including the Federal Mercury-Containing and Rechargeable Battery Management Act, to display a chasing arrows symbol.
- The product is a beverage container subject to the California Beverage Container Recycling and Litter Reduction Act.