California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle)

Plastics Information and Resources

California is faced with the daunting challenge of managing millions of tons of postconsumer plastic annually generated in the state. The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery's (CalRecycle) 2003 Waste Characterization Study found that plastic film, packaging containers, durable goods, and other plastic items make up 9.5 percent, or 3.8 million tons, of the disposed waste stream in California. However, plastic is only recycled at about a 5 percent rate statewide.

The characteristics that increasingly make plastic the manufacturing and packaging material of choice, i.e. light weight, durable, less expensive, also make it a challenge to collect and recycle. Plastic materials when released into the environment can also be a visual blight and harmful to wildlife. Nor does plastics debris degrade in the environment; instead it tends to accumulate, creating long-term environmental problems.

CalRecycle is actively working toward developing more comprehensive solutions for managing plastic materials, and to mitigate for the adverse environmental impacts associated with plastic discards by effectively implementing its mandatory plastic programs. For more information, please read about our priority programs and initiatives and/or see the links to your left.

Last updated: February 23, 2010
Plastic Recycling