By Lauren Hasler on Aug 24, 2009

California to Mandate Recycling for Businesses, Apartments


California residents not living in permanent housing may no longer have to deal with the frustration of searching for recycling options.

The state’s Integrated Waste Management Board (IWMB) is formulating a program meant to encourage businesses, apartment complexes and mobile home parks to institute recycling. The mandatory recycling directive would most likely set goals for cities and counties, allowing them to implement individual programs as long as they comply.

Photo: Amanda Wills, Earth911.com

While cities such as San Diego already have recycling mandates, the IWMB is looking to make it a statewide law. Photo: Amanda Wills, Earth911.com

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that if half of the 5.5 million tons of recyclable material dumped by large businesses, apartment complexes and mobile home parks were reused, the state could save space in landfills and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by the equivalent of taking almost 1 million cars off the road.

Some cities in California won’t be heavily affected by the proposal, as recycling mandates are already in place. San Diego is one such city. Its ordinance will be in full-effect on Jan. 1, 2010. Similar to the statewide program, it requires collection bins and regular pickups for businesses, apartments and mobile home parks.

“We consider them one of our models,” said Brenda Smyth, a state waste board regulator working on the proposal. However, “There are very few communities that have gone the full route,” as reported by the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Many believe the cost of the program is cause for concern. Education and enforcement of the mandate would raise fees. However, diverting more trash to recycling can save money.

A draft proposal will be released this year, and state law requires the plan to be implemented no later than Jan. 1, 2012.


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