Assembly Bill 341, a Californians Against Waste sponsored bill that expands recycling programs to apartments and businesses, began its implementation on the 1st of July and apartment dwellers and businesses around the state have already begun reaping the rewards - and cost savings - of this program.
Several sources have reported on the successesful implementation of the bill. According to the Times-Herald, for instance, residents of Vallejo have strongly embraced the program. The bill applies to those who produce more than four cubic yards of waste weekly but Lisa LeFebvre, a spokeswoman for Recology Vallejo, says that even clients who produce less than the required cubic yards are calling to start recycling programs. Recology charges for pickup based on garbage volume, so organizations have always had a financial incentive to sign up for recycling.
Recycling adds no cost, and in most cases will reduce a customer's monthly garbage bill, Crutchfield and LeFebvre said.
"Commercial customers are charged by the amount of trash they produce, so removing recyclables produces less volume," she said. "It's also better for the environment to put less in the landfills."
Still, LeFebvre points out that motivation to recycle has only recently picked up. Derek Crutchfield, city recycling coordinator for Vallejo, notes that for some, cost effectiveness alone wasn’t enough to get recycling infrastructure in place and AB 341 was needed to persuade that remaining demographic.
The new law was needed because not everyone was motivated to "do the right thing" without it, she and Crutchfield said. Even the money-saving angle hasn't worked until relatively recently, LeFebvre said.
Businesses and apartments in California are responsible for 2/3 of the Golden State’s waste stream, yet until now they have not recycled at nearly the same the rates as single family hosueholds.