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Assemblymember Aguiar-Curry Bill to Reform California Carpet Recycling Program Passes Assembly Floor

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters) announced that her Assembly Bill 863 passed the Assembly Floor yesterday with a 63-8 vote. AB 863 will improve accountability for CARE or any other consumer-funded carpet recycling program by increasing civil penalties for violating relevant laws as well as ensure that money collected by the program will stay in the state of California and go towards jobs and apprenticeship programs.

Since July 2011, California consumers have paid a carpet stewardship assessment fee when purchasing carpet sold in California. This fee funds a statewide carpet recycling program known as the Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE), which is a Producer Responsibility Organization (PRO) designed and implemented by carpet manufacturers with CalRecycle oversight. However, CARE has repeatedly failed to administer the program effectively and equitably, and has required oversight and repeated enforcement by CalRecycle. Recyclers and collectors have left the state or gone out of business due to a lack of feedstock, while carpet is still being landfilled.

“Despite repeated interventions by CalRecycle and the California legislature, CARE’s consistent failure to successfully administer California’s carpet recycling program has resulted in more carpet in landfills, wasted consumer fee money, constant litigation with the state, and permanent damage to California’s recycling infrastructure,” said Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters). “We lost a carpet recycling employer in my district in Woodland for lack of carpet to recycle, and CARE let them go to Arizona with $500,000 of customer-funded equipment!  AB 863 will fix this program by requiring accountability for CARE and ensure that California consumer fees are used to create jobs in California and invested in California’s carpet recycling industry.”

"On behalf of over 10,000 hard working members of IUPAT (International Union of Painters and Allied Trades) District Council 36 we applaud the leadership of Assemblymember Aguilar-Curry in instituting the urgently needed improvement in the California carpet recycling system” said Robert D. Smith, of District Council 16 of the International Union of Painters & Allied Trades, AFL-CIP. “ The current system never met the goals that it set for itself, and it is apparent that the private sector needs a partnership & an enforceable accountability system from the state of CA. It is time for hard working families to have an effective carpet recycling program that will make our state cleaner and better."

“We greatly appreciate the leadership of Assemblymember Aguilar-Curry for working to improve a recycling program that has been the worst performing stewardship program in California, and maybe the nation” said Heidi Sanborn, Executive Director of the National Stewardship Action Council. “When legislation passed in 2010 to establish a producer run carpet recycling system, it was thought that the private sector would be able to perform better than a government run program but unfortunately, it’s been underperforming and under enforcement for a decade.  It’s time to inspire carpet companies to do better because California consumers deserve better.”

Four major processors in California are no longer in operation in part because of consistently poor performance by CARE, including the Woodland facility that had to shut down. The Woodland facility’s closure resulted in the loss of fifty green jobs to an Arizona facility that is now receiving carpet while California’s remaining facilities advocate for more feedstock.  AB 863 is set to prevent any further loss of infrastructure and jobs in the carpet recycling industry, and now heads to the Senate.

Assemblymember Aguiar-Curry represents the 4th Assembly District, which includes all of Lake, Colusa, Napa, and Yolo Counties, and part of Sonoma County.