Currently, the California Air Resources Board is in the process of developing a mandatory statewide program for commercial recycling. Under the program, local governments are responsible for creating their own recycling intiatives to meet state emission standards (by reducing the amount of waste sent to landfills). Although the state program's effective date isn't until January 1, 2012, Stockton has already begun drafting a new commercial recycling ordinance which is stricter, in some ways, than the proposed state law.
Presently, Stockton's commercial sector is lagging significantly behind their residential recycling rates. In general, 60% of Stockton's waste is diverted from landfills, but the diversion rate amoing businesses alone is only 35%. Although these numbers make it clear that new recycling measures must be implemented to close this gap, many businesses are reluctant to adopt stricter regulations.
However, we at CAW believe that recycling and waste prevention can be synomynous with the bottom line. Many businesses are unaware of the economic benefits associated with recycling programs such as increased business efficiency, job creation, urban renewal, and many other positive results. Additionally, a draft contractor's report estimated the creation of over a thousand jobs statewide with the implementation of these types of programs. These reasons underly why we support AB 341 (Chesbro), which would create green jobs by expanding recycling to every multi-family dwelling and business and would charge CalRecyle with the responsibility for ensuring that the state is diverting at least 75% of the garbage that it generates by 2020.
As for the substance of Stockton's new ordinance, details are still in the beginning stages and the definition of what constitutes a "business" is not yet defined. However, multifamily housing complexes larger than four units will be included (stricter than the state's program). Multifamily housing has been a focus area for CAW's efforts for increased recycling; an area with a traditionally low diversion rate due to factors such as high turnover.
Despite the obvious benefits, the commercial sector remains weary. As meetings between Stockton's community, business officials, and city government members proceed, more concrete requirements of the ordinance will surface. To read the full article, click here.