Gonzalez teamed up with state Sen. Bill Allen, D-Santa Monica, who in December introduced Senate Bill 54 in an attempt to reduce the amount of single-use plastic waste that ends up polluting waterways and other places.
According to Allen, the plastic waste often breaks down into toxic chemicals, including some considered cancer-causing. Plastic can take hundreds of years to biodegrade in the ocean, according to research from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
"At the Plastics Industry Association, we believe uncollected plastics do not belong in our oceans or waterways," said Scott DeFife, vice president of governmental affairs for PIA, a D.C.-based trade association. "We share the goal of increased recovery in order for plastics to be used at their highest and best potential."
The American Chemistry Council, which represents leading makers of plastic resins, last May set a goal of 100 percent of plastic packaging being recycled, reused or recovered by 2040. ACC also advocates 100 percent of plastic packaging be recyclable or recoverable by 2030.
In 2014, California passed legislation to curb the use of single-use plastic bags at grocery stores. It mandated that retailers charge consumers for reusable plastic bags or paper bags.
Last year the Golden State became the first in the nation to restrict the use of plastic straws in restaurants with the passage of Assembly Bill 1884. The state also passed Senate Bill 1335, legislation reducing the use of non-recyclable takeout food containers.
"Last year we worked closely with Sen. Allen on his SB 1335, a bill that we ultimately supported which created new requirements that food-service packaging used at state facilities be recyclable or compostable," said Tim Shestek, senior director of state affairs for ACC. "We'd welcome the opportunity to work with Sen. Allen and all stakeholders on efforts to recycle and recover more plastic material so that it doesn't become waste or ocean litter."
However, some contend the state should stay out of the business of restricting plastics, whether straws or packaging. They also claim a small percentage of plastics in the ocean are coming from the United States.
"It won't change anything, and nobody will see a difference," said Kerry Jackson, a fellow at the Center for California Reform at the Pacific Research Institute, a conservative think tank based in San Francisco. "This is a freedom issue as well. [Companies] should be able to decide what they're going to give to customers, and customers should be able to decide what they want to get."
* Reported by Jeff Daniels at CNBC