AB2026, the additional bill, aims to reduce the amount of single-use plastic packaging and filler materials that online retailers commonly use when shipping their products. The bill was approved by the state Assembly in May and is currently before the Senate Appropriations Committee, where it faces a crucial deadline in less than two weeks.

Senators weigh in on AB2026 after the Legislature has already approved a much broader plastic reduction measure, SB54, which was signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom in late June. SB54 gives manufacturers 10 years to ensure that plastic packaging and food items can be recycled, composted or reused. They also need to reduce the amount of plastic they generate to begin with.

But State Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, said Saturday that AB2026 is still needed for California to specifically address plastic waste from online retail.

“Now we have a chance to really start changing the dial on the packaging,” Wiener, one of the bill’s lead co-sponsors, told reporters at a news conference at Pier 39.

Wiener said he routinely received items ordered online that were packaged in excessive amounts of plastic.

“These companies really don’t have a lot of incentive to try to minimize it,” Wiener said. “They’re going to keep doing it until they’re told not to.” And that is what this bill is about.

Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, co-authored AB2026 with Assemblyman Laura Friedman, D-Glendale (Los Angeles County).

AB2026, in its current form, would require online retailers to reduce the amount of single-use plastic shipping envelopes, padding and fillers they use by percentages yet to be specified by 2030. The bill must pass the appropriations committee by Aug. 11, Wiener said, and clear the floor of the Senate by the end of August in order to reach the governor’s desk.

“Right now, plastic waste is clogging landfills, littering communities and polluting our oceans,” Environment California associate Ben Grundy said at the press conference. “We cannot recycle our solution to this problem. We’re drowning in plastic and it’s time to turn off the tap.

Grundy and Wiener were joined by student canvassers from Environment California and the California Public Interest Research Group, or CALPIRG, who tried to rally support for AB2026 among Bay Area residents.

“It’s an impossible battle to fight alone,” said canvasser Kalilla Garcia, an 18-year-old freshman at UC Davis. “We know there is a problem and we need to work together to solve it.”

JD Morris is a writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: [email protected]: @thejdmorris