New California law requires commercial and apartment recycling

California's new law requires businesses and apartments to recycle

Generally considered at the forefront of environmental regulations, California now has another green law in place. Governor Jerry Brown just signed a bill that requires all California commercial businesses, institutions and apartments to implement recycling programs.

This legislation sets an ambitious goal of recycling 75% of all materials in California by 2020. This matches a similar law in Florida for waste diversion that was set in 2010.

Approximately two-thirds of California’s waste stream comes from the commercial sector, the majority of which until now has not participated in recycling efforts. California as a whole diverts 58% of its waste but large office buildings divert only 7 percent. The majority of this waste consists of recyclable paper and cardboard.

State Assembly member Wesley Chesbro, who sponsored Assembly Bil 341l, said the new law expands one passed 21 years ago that made California a leader in recycling. The state’s commitment to recycling has created 125,000 jobs over the past two decades, he said.

“AB 341 is expected to create up to 60,000 jobs,” said Mark Murray, Executive Director of Californians Against Waste. He estimates that the new law will bring local governments and the private sector together to divert 15 million tons of recyclable from landfills each year.

A second bill, also signed by Brown, will provide incentives for manufacturers and processors of recycled plastic. California currently collects about 500 million pounds of plastic containers for recycling annually through the state’s bottle bill, but more than 80% of them are shipped overseas for processing. The new law provides $10 to $20 million annually for incentives to process those plastic containers. That should make increasing state recycling levels about as easy as opening your garage door everyday.

All in all, California’s recycling programs got a big boost from the signing of these bills. Time will tell how businesses react and how quickly they comply.

5 Responses

  1. I really hope this passes because i no a lot of people who live in apartments that want to recycle more but don’t because of the hassle. Providing bins would encourage recycling in buildings where large amounts of trash are picked up daily. I think this will have a positive effect on the planet in the long run.

    • Thanks for your comment. It’s not a question of “if” it will pass. It’s now a law so now it’s a case of how quickly it will be implemented.

      • It is a law to provide it and a good idea, but keep in mind that landlords forward a percentage of waste removal costs on to residents, so recycling pick up costs will also be charged on top of rent, especially in medium to high rent areas. Apartments are required by law to offer the service, but not required to pay for all of it. They only have to pay a small percentage of their use…if they use it at all. Good for the earth…but not free.

      • Good point, Peggy. Seems to me, though, that if enough apartment dwellers protest the passing on of fees, cities might just take a look at this and do something about it. It’s been known to happen.

        Thanks for your comments!

  2. Anyone knows if there Is any regulation right now for californian apartments to have recycle bins? We used to have some, they decreased them to just a couple at the mailboxes, and recently they even took those away. we have zero blue bins right now! I do not like this!

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