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State Assembly Tries to Put a Cap on Litter

The California state Assembly has passed legislation intended to reduce litter from plastic bottle caps. KPBS Reporter Ed Joyce tells us the idea is to recycle the caps and keep them out of the ocean.

The bill would ban the sale of single-use plastic beverage containers unless the cap is attached to the bottle.

Since 1989, the start of data collection for Coastal Cleanup Day, more than one-million bottle caps have been collected from the state's shorelines and waterways.

That's nearly ten-percent of all the items collected each year.

Assemblywoman Lori Saldaña authored the legislation which is now being considered by the state Senate.

"The cost of cleaning up these lids is significant. And the blockages that occur in our storm drains, the litter that has to be cleaned up on the beaches and then of course the impact in the marine environment. All of those are costs to the taxpayers," she said.

Saldaña says leashing lids will keep them out of the ocean and get them into recycling centers.

An estimated 60-80 percent of all marine litter and nearly all floating debris is plastic.

Saldaña says if approved the new law would go into effect in 2012.

Ed Joyce, KPBS News.

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