In October of 2021, California passed a new law (known as “SB 343”) placing restrictions on the making of “recyclable” claims.  Essentially, the law says that in order for a product or packaging to make a recyclability claim (including the display of a chasing arrows symbol), it needs to meet certain criteria, including that the product or packaging is of a material type and form that (1) “is collected for recycling by recycling programs for jurisdictions that collectively encompass at least 60 percent of the population of the state” and (2) “is sorted into defined streams for recycling processes by large volume transfer or processing facilities…that process materials and collectively serve at least 60 percent of recycling programs statewide…”

In order to provide the public with “information…sufficient for evaluating whether a product or packaging is recyclable in the state” based on the above criteria, the law directed CalRecycle to conduct and publish the findings of a “material characterization study" describing the material types and forms that are collected, sorted, sold, or transferred by solid waste facilities. 

The preliminary findings of the material characterization study are finally live, and can be found here. As expected, the findings provide information about the material types and forms collected for recycling by jurisdiction recycling programs, and that are recovered by large volume transfer/processors in California, including corresponding percentages for each material type. 

What happens next? CalRecycle will hold a public workshop on February 13, 2024 to present the findings and to obtain feedback.  (Comments can also be submitted via email to The deadline for submitting comments is February 29, 2024, after which CalRecycle will review the comments and ultimately publish a final version of the study. Marketers will then have 18 months from the date the final study is published to bring their products and packaging into compliance with SB 343.