SEATTLE (Waste Advantage): One of the most recognized logos around, the recycling symbol, is in line for a major revamp. California recently became the first state to restrict the use of the widely known “chasing arrows” symbol. State lawmakers passed a bill that criminalizes putting the symbol on any item that isn’t commonly recycled as determined by the state’s environmental regulator; it will become law unless Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoes it.
California isn’t the only state trying to increase transparency around recycling. Earlier this year, Oregon this year created a task force to examine environmental labeling as part of sweeping legislation that makes packagers more responsible for their waste. New York also introduced a bill in May to eliminate the three arrows from any non-recyclable item.
Forty years after the concept of recycling went mainstream, these states are acknowledging what environmentalists have been saying for decades: Most plastic products are burned or sent to a landfill. Items such as ziplock bags, yogurt cups, prescription bottles, clear beverage cups and plastic films can only be recycled in a handful of processing facilities in a few cities nationwide. California’s bill would guarantee these items don’t get the “chasing arrows” symbol unless the state verifies that most of this plastic is actually turned into new products.