Commercial recycling may become mandatory in California

Recycling bins may soon become mandatory fixtures for businesses in California

As someone who writes extensively about all forms of green, I was shocked recently to discover that here in my hometown, and the entire state of California, it isn’t mandatory for businesses or apartments to recycle – it’s an option. The fact that the recycling movement began here in sunny California back in 1973 makes it’s difficult to fathom why.

A  local city Supervisor for Recycling & Hazardous Waste told me that a majority of businesses here don’t recycle, choosing to load up their dumpsters and trash bins with all their recyclables instead. When offered recycling bins and pick-up for free, the collective thought was “no thanks.”

All that may be about to change.

Draft regulations that would mandate commercial recycling  are due out Sept. 5, with the California Air Resources Board expected to adopt the plan in mid-October. The program is designed to reduce the volume of goods produced with new raw materials at fossil-fuel burning plants that emit greenhouse gasses.

The new rules would pressure cities with existing recycling programs to expand and cover more businesses and multifamily housing. The regulations wouldn’t, however, include specific enforcement measures, but would leave that up to the local governments.

CalRecycle – the state agency that promotes the importance of recycling and product reuse – anticipates this mandated program would save up to 5 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually by the year 2020 – the equivalent of taking about 1 million cars off the road every year.

As with any new regulations – especially anything related to environmental regulations – there is opposition. The California Association of Realtors and California Apartment Association have filed objections. But the association says it’s already working with CalRecycle producing a series of educational brochures that will be distributed to tenants.

With the proven difference that recycling can make – in resource savings and lowering greenhouse gas emissions, these regulations would seem to be a no-brainer. We’ll have to wait and see if our politicians can see it that way or will bow to the pressures of lobbyists instead.


3 Responses

  1. I don’t understand why recycling is being fought so hard. The landfills are near capacity. When they select new locations for a landfill, see how they will complain if the location is near their property.

  2. Thanks for this post. If you’re anywhere near Mission Viejo then you have got to go to The Shops at Mission Viejo for your back to school clothes. They, in conjunction with the city and Waste Management are offering a Super Recycler award to retailers.

    • Thanks for the heads-up on what sounds like a great recycling program. Super to know that retailers are on board and competing for this award. Wish more communities would see how well this can work!

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