Californians sent less material to landfills last year than ever before. According to a recent report from CalRecycle, Californians disposed of 4.3 pounds per person per day in 2012, down from 4.4 pounds in 2011. The population in 2012 was 37.7 million and 29.3 million tons of material was sent to landfills.
Californians also improved their recycling rate by recycling 50% of waste last year, a one percent improvement over 2011. In a statement, CalRecycle Director Caroll Mortensen spoke about the improved rate in relation to AB 341, which sets a goal of 75% recycling by 2020.
"Each incremental step in waste diversion puts the state closer to our goal of 75 percent recycling," Mortensen said. "The public is doing its part by being conscious of what we throw out and thinking about recycling and reuse. We at CalRecycle will continue to do our part by supporting recycling businesses and other waste diversion infrastructure that create green jobs and help achieve our goal."
Californians have made great progress since 1989, when the Integrated Waste Management Act went into effect and the disposal rate was more than 8 pounds per person per day. However, we have much work ahead if we are going to achieve the goals set in AB 341. A combination of recycling, composting and source reduction will be required in order to reduce the amount of material going to landfills by the necessary 22 million tons.
CAW is currently supporting SB 254 (Hancock and Correa), which will create a statewide recycling program for mattresses. This will help reduce the number of mattresses being sent to landfills, as well as reducing the number of mattresses that are illegally dumped on public property.
Other actions, such as expanding organics recycling, expanding the market for CRT glass through AB 1022 (Eggman), and creating sales tax exemptions for recycling equipment purchases through AB 1021 (Eggman) will help the state get closer to the 75% recycling goal.