California Recycling Proposal Aimed at Businesses

by | Aug 25, 2009

recyclingbinsCalifornia’s Integrated Waste Management Board (IWMG) is drafting a mandatory recycling directive that would require most businesses to provide collection bins and regular pickups for many common recyclable materials such as paper, lumber and glass, reports the San Diego Union Tribune.

But regulators are hesitant to include food waste from restaurants because it shows promise as a feed stock for biofuels, reports the San Diego Union Tribune. About 3.5 million tons of restaurant scraps are dumped in landfills annually in California, but alternatives are still a challenge in most regions, regulators told the newspaper.

The mandate will allow each city and county to implement individual programs as long as they are in compliance with the regulation, reports The mandate will also impact owners of apartment complexes and mobile home parks.

IWMG estimates that large businesses, apartment complexes and mobile home parks dump 5.5 million tons of common recyclable material every year, according to the newspaper. The agency said if half of that could be captured for reuse, the state could save space in landfills and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 5.5 million tons a year, reports the newspaper.

A draft proposal will be released this year and state law requires the plan to be implemented no later than Jan. 1, 2012, according to the San Diego Union Tribune. Some cities like San Diego, which already mandates widespread recycling including for businesses and government buildings, won’t be significantly impacted by the proposal, says It already requires collection bins and regular pickups for businesses, apartments and mobile home parks.

Regulators told the newspaper that cost is driving some concerns with many believing the program will raise fees for public education and enforcement, which will be a challenge during a recession. However, regulators also noted that  diverting trash to recycling can save businesses money.

As an example, the city of San Diego estimates that haulers charge $20 for a trash container and $11 for a recycling bin. Trash-only pickup three times a week can cost $600 weekly for 10 3-cubic-yard containers. At those rates and that frequency, a business could save about $135 a week by replacing five trash containers with an equal number of recycling bins.

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