Southern California Adapts~
Long Beach, CA – All California businesses that generate four cubic yards or more of solid waste per week, and multifamily residential dwellings with five or more units, are required to start recycling by July 1, according to a new state law passed last year. Cities are also obligated to start implementing “education, outreach and monitoring” of a mandatory commercial recycling program by the deadline.
AB 341, introduced by Assembly member Wesley Chesbro, is considered the state’s first official mandatory commercial recycling legislation, although similar to previous rulemaking in the state’s landmark climate change bill, AB 32.
The new recycling law, however, does not carry any fines or penalties, but rather gives local jurisdictions the authority to come up with their own rules of enforcement in a “phased in” process. Cities are required to file annual reports on compliance with the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery, known as CalReycle, which is overseeing the statewide regulation. Gov. Jerry Brown officially signed the legislation last year and the final regulation is pending approval of the state’s office of administrative law.
“There is leeway for local jurisdictions to implement the mandatory commercial recycling aspect of the legislation in ways that work best within their communities,” said Mark Oldfield, spokesperson for CalRecycle. “There’s no one-size-fits-all solution.”
All businesses and apartments that fall under the law must implement recycling, whether it’s reusing waste, separating recyclables, composting waste materials or other waste diversion methods, he said. They also have to self-haul, subscribe to a hauler, arrange for the pickup of recyclable materials or subscribe to a recycling service that separates trash from recyclables at an offsite facility.
In addition, AB 341 sets a statewide “goal” for 75 percent disposal reduction by 2020. The waste diversion rate, however, is not a “mandate.” The state’s current 50 percent disposal reduction mandate still stands for cities, counties and state agencies under previous laws.
Jim Kuhl, manager of the Long Beach Environmental Services Bureau, said the city’s public works department is sending out recycling surveys next month to all businesses renewing business licenses to determine the level of compliance in the city. The survey process is expected to go on for about a year, he said.
Kuhl said the law specifically requires multifamily buildings and businesses to become more involved in their own recycling efforts. There are currently 12 franchise trash haulers allowed to operate in Long Beach. Businesses and apartment owners may also contract with the city for hauling services, he said.
The city is not imposing any form of fines or penalties on businesses or apartments that don’t recycle, Kuhl said, but rather encouraging them to recycle. “We want to encourage private haulers and their customers to develop their recycling programs,” he said. “Nobody wants the city coming in and telling them how to recycle or do their services or something like that. So, we’re really leaving it up to the businesses and their trash haulers to figure out a solution.”
CalRecycle estimates about 250,000 businesses statewide and about 220,000 multi-family dwellings will have to take specific actions to comply with the proposed regulations. The affected businesses that currently don’t recycle are mainly small businesses with less than 100 employees, representing about 20 percent of California’s 1.3 million businesses, responsible for about 75 percent of the state’s commercial waste, according to CalRecycle.
The recycling law is expected to result in cost savings to businesses over the next several years, while generating new jobs, goods and services and expanding opportunities for recycling manufacturing facilities, CalRecycle states.
The California Chamber of Commerce has not taken a position on the new law, but states in a comment letter that the business community generally “supports the shared goal of responsible waste management.” Regulations, however, must be “cost effective and provide flexibility to businesses that are struggling in a fragile economy,” according to the chamber.
Meanwhile, Long Beach is rolling out a new incentive program in the next three months to encourage homeowners and multifamily tenets to increase their recycling practices.
The city entered into a contract with Recycle Rewards, Inc. (RR) to become part of the company’s “recycle bank” online program, www.recyclebank.com. Residents with the same trash-pickup day are rewarded based on increased residential recyclables compared to the overall amount of waste generated in the city. “It’s really trying to drive more people to recycling,” Kuhl said.
The initiative rewards residents with points that can be redeemed for discounts or free offers, such as “buy one get one free” or “$10 off with the purchase of $50 or more,” at local businesses and with national brands. Current partners of RR are Macy’s, Kashi, Nestle Purina, Coca-Cola and Ziploc. Representatives are currently engaging local businesses to become part of the program, he said.
Northern California Adapts-
Trinity County, CA– a new state law prepares to take effect July 1 mandating that commercial businesses and multi-family units recycle their waste, Trinity County’s Solid Waste division is preparing to step up its processes to help them do it.
Intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, AB 341 goes into effect July 1, requiring all businesses and multi-family complexes with five or more units generating four or more cubic yards of waste to separate their municipal garbage from their recyclables. The new law adds monitoring and reporting duties for counties and cities, and requires educational outreach efforts to inform the public of the new mandate.
“Our approach is collaborative, cooperative and informative, but not to force people to comply,” said Trinity County Solid Waste Director Mark Lockhart. “We don’t have the resources to do that, but we think we have a decent plan for helping people move forward.”
The plan relies on expanding single stream recycling capabilities, currently available only in Hayfork as a pilot project, to Weaverville and eventually other outlying county transfer stations.
Single stream recycling is a system of processing mixed waste — a one-stop shop for recycling everything at one location with the exception of wet garbage such as food waste and other organic material. It was initiated through grant funding obtained for a pilot project at the Hayfork transfer station last year.
Lockhart said the Hayfork project is doing much better than it started out, but not as well as he had hoped. A volunteer outreach effort there has helped to educate people about the benefits and opportunities of single stream recycling, but he said the project is still operating at just under the break-even point. The goal is to reduce the county’s trash hauling costs by increasing the amount of materials that are recycled.
Once the new mandate goes into effect, businesses and apartment complexes will have no choice but to recycle, and Lockhart said he believes that will boost the use of single stream up to a point that will allow for expansion of the process to Weaverville and other locations.
In the meantime, solid waste staff plans to meet with various business groups and community service clubs to provide information about the new requirements.
During a presentation to the Trinity County Board of Supervisors last week, Lockhart said, “It is the law. It is going into effect. Businesses will have to comply and we’ll have to do some reporting, but I don’t have any way to go out and check everyone. Plus we have many businesses that share Dumpsters. They don’t all have their own”
Sup. Wendy Otto noted that the new requirements “are not as onerous as they started out with fines and penalties attached, though that may be coming.”
Rural advocacy groups the county works with pushed back, Otto said, adding “we all detest that word ‘mandatory’ because it’s a one-size-fits-all approach when the rural areas are not the problem. We already understand our carbon footprint and the cost of transportation. The word ‘mandatory’ is still in there, but we got a much-changed version from what was first presented.”
Lockhart said he will be bringing a proposal to the board in the next few months to expand single stream capabilities, but discussion is also needed about raising the county’s solid waste fees or reducing services.
“We’re in a period of tightening our belts due to a downturn in business and increasing costs. We’ve passed the threshold where we’re dipping into our reserves, so we will bring you the numbers in a logical way and will need your direction on that,” he said.
Source- LBBJ & TJ
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