The California Air Resources Board voted to implement a mandatory commercial recycling program as part of its adoption today of the AB 32 Scoping Plan, the blueprint for implementing California’s landmark global warming legislation. The ARB also highlighted the importance of providing financial incentives and working with local governments to implement recycling programs.
CAW spearheaded a two-year effort to ensure recycling was appropriately represented in the Scoping Plan, and we were pleased to learn that the state has identified recycling as one of the key strategies that will help California achieve its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 (a reduction of 174 million tons of CO2). CAW is particularly proud of the leadership role that the ARB and CIWMB have taken with regards to commercial recycling, specifically with the following improvement that was made from earlier drafts of this plan:
More broadly, the state has prioritized the following greenhouse gas reduction measures in the plan:
- The state will require commercial businesses, a sector of the economy that has historically lacked adequate recycling services, to recycle.
- The state will adopt landfill regulations that will reduce the climate impact of these facilities and protect public health, safety, and the environment.
- The state will provide direct incentives for the use of compost and mulch in landscaping and agriculture, resulting in reduced irrigation demand, less emissions at landfills, and decrease in fertilizer and pesticide usage.
- The state will build on the innovative success of local governments by encouraging food scrap composting and anaerobic digestion statewide.
- The state will evaluate opportunities for climate benefits from Extended Producer Responsibility.
- State agencies will also take a leadership role and reduce their own climate impact through Environmentally Preferred Purchasing and public education.
The ARB estimates that these measures will result in a reduction of at least 10 million tons of carbon dioxide. CAW believes that the measures adopted today clearly position California to continue to serve as a national model for recycling policy.