Assemblywoman Lori Saldaña is concerned about the North Pacific Gyre, an island of plastic debris floating in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Saldaña's also concerned about the plastic caps from soda and water bottles that are left behind on the state's beaches and parks. According to a study conducted on Orange County beaches, an estimated 88,000 plastic caps have been left behind on the 40-miles of coastline.
Trying to put a lid on the problem, Saldaña introduced Assembly Bill 925, a bill that requires all single-use plastic bottle manufacturers to tether the lids and caps to every bottle they make. The bill also prohibits retailers from selling any plastic bottle with unattached caps after January 2012.
Saldaña is asking local municipalities to draft letters endorsing the bill. On Wednesday, August 26, during a meeting of the Solana Beach city council, councilmembers drafted that letter. After some discussion, however, the environmentally conscious council decided that Assembly Bill 925 isn't all that sound.
"I think this has great merit. But, I read the bill and found a few loopholes," said Mayor Mike Nichols before picking up an empty plastic water bottle as a prop. Nichols feels the problem isn't just with unattached caps, it's because not all recycling facilities are capable of recycling the plastic tops.
"What [the bill] is asking to do is create another piece of plastic to attach to another piece of plastic and when it goes to the recycling facility, if they can't recycle it, then they just have to pull it off. So that piece of plastic is created in vain. I hate to see making more plastic."
City staff is composing a letter to Saldaña in support of the bill but with some amendments.
Councilmember Lesa Heebner: "[We should] put something in the letter saying 'Let's not stop at the bottle caps being tethered, but let's ensure that by this certain date that all recycling facilities are able to recycle all parts of the bottle.'"