After more than 5 years of effort, California's apartment dwellers will finally have the opportunity to recycle--Governor Jerry Brown just announced that he will be signing AB 818 (Blumenfield), the Renter's Right to Recycle Act. The Governor's signature on this important bill marks a sharp change in policy from the previous administration, which had vetoed similar legislation 3 separate times since 2006.
"Renters want to recycle and deserve a convenient way to do it," said Assembly Member Blumenfield. "Renters typically can’t recycle unless they haul their waste to recycling centers. By bringing recycling services to renters, we can harness millions of small, every day acts into a powerful force for our environment."
Californians living in apartments and other multifamily dwellings have substantially fewer recycling opportunities than residents of single family homes. Less than 40% of those living in multifamily residences have access to convenient recycling and, as a result, more than 85% of the waste generated at multifamily residences goes to landfills.
While Californians living in multifamily housing generally have less space and lower incomes than those living in single family homes, data from the CIWMB (the predecessor to CalRecycle) reveals that lack of recycling opportunities result, on average, in multifamily residents disposing of a disproportionately greater share of waste. The CIWMB data found that multifamily dwellings dispose of nearly one million tons of recyclable material annually.
This lack of recycling opportunity and resulting disposal is also contributing to greenhouse gas emissions. That’s why the Air Resources Board identified commercial sector recycling, including multifamily recycling, as a key AB 32 Scoping Plan measure. CalRecycle has identified a GHG emission reduction potential of 800,000 tons CO2E/yr if recycling is expanded to all multifamily housing units.
In a state that prides itself on its leadership in environmental protection and recycling, 60% of Californians living in multifamily dwellings still don’t have an opportunity to recycle where they live, and AB 818 will provide a new residential recycling opportunity for these 7 million Californians.
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