An idea: A California Proposition putting a cleanup charge on all plastic material, by mass.
Along with the new focus on limiting single-use material (bags, straws, etc), let us put a cleanup surcharge on all plastic manufactured within or imported into California, by mass. This would not discriminate between uses or play favorites. It would simply recognize that there is an end-of-life cost to plastic which should be reflected in the price paid at time of manufacture. We shouldn’t ask our communities now, or future generations, to pay for the potentially infinite costs of dealing with non-biodegradable waste. Price that cost in now, and manufacturers, businesses, and consumers will naturally adjust their behavior to limit the use of this convenient but vastly overused unnatural substance. The money brought in can be directed to urban, rural, and waterway cleanup efforts, or firefighting, and we can modernize and restore our beautiful State to the paradise it once was and can be again.
We all know the incredible problem of plastic waste: Recycling is a one-generation “solution” that pretends there is no consequence to excess manufacturing of non-biodegradable material. Chinese recyclers are now refusing our waste offered for recycling because there’s far more of it than anyone on earth can use, so the cost of repurposing is now much higher than its value as a raw material. Virtual continents of plastic are swirling in the ocean. This plastic is pulverized and embedded in the bodies of fish. Trash rolls like apocalyptic tumbleweeds through our cities and towns. An earth is sullied with a substance that cannot be broken down.
We are in a unique position and time to make a difference. We are the opposite of our neighbors in Nevada: what happens in California doesn’t stay in California. What happens here happens all over the world.
We have a system where Propositions can be taken straight to voters. We have a California populace that is politically energized by the opposition to the current leadership in DC. We have, for better or worse, a virtual one-party state, which we can use to make stronger environmental actions politically expedient to Democrats would could face primary challenges if they aren’t standing up for the health of our planet.