Recycling in Apartment Buildings

Over seven million Californians live in apartment buildings, yet only 40 percent have access to a convenient recycling program. This is compared to 70 percent of houses that have access to curbside recycling. Apartments generate 8 percent (3.3 million tons) of the disposed waste stream in California, but only 15% of this waste is recycled.

To address this situation, Californians Against Waste successfully sponsored AB 341 (Chesbro), which requires all apartment buildings with 5 or more units to provide recycling opportunities for their residents. Governor Brown signed AB 341 in 2011 and the law took effect in 2014.

In 2014, we expanded AB 341’s requirement to include organics recycling for businesses with AB 1826 (also by Sen. Chesbro).

Closing the gap in recycling opportunities for Californians who live in apartment buildings has been a multi-year effort on the part of CAW. Over the past decade, CAW has sponsored AB 822 (Levine)AB 548 (Levine)AB 737 (Chesbro), and supported AB 2206 (Montanez). Although these bills were vetoed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, they promoted increased awareness of the issue among policymakers and the public, and paved the way for strong, effective apartment recycling regulations contained in AB 341 and AB 1826. 

Does your apartment complex, school, and workplace provide recycling services? If they are above a certain size, they are legally required to have recycling. If not, you can report them here:

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