Chesbro Supports Waste Reduction

WW: How successful has the state been in achieving the Board's waste reduction goals?

WC: Two el-ements have been key. The first is mandated plans for each local jurisdiction to meet its waste reduction and material di-version goals. Most of the 528 jurisdictions have submitted their plans and are implementing programs. California already has met its goal of a 25 percent reduction by 1995.

The second key element is ac-tively supporting recycled materials markets for certain problem waste streams such as paper, used oil, rigid plastics and tires. The CIWMB's loan program provides low-interest loans to businesses located in Recycling Market Development Zones. To qualify, businesses must use post-consu-mer or secondary waste materials in their production process.

The most prevalent types of programs include residential curbside collection, commercial source separation of recyclables, zoning changes for composting, and residential drop-off and buy-back centers. Many are the product of the private sector teaming up with local and state governments.

WW: What are the Board's funding criteria?

WC: The CIWMB's waste management hierarchy places the greatest importance on waste re-duction, followed by diversion of waste through recycling and composting and, lastly, limiting disposal at landfills or incinerators.

We look for projects that utilize the CIWMB's priority materials (waste paper, compostable materials, high-density polyethylene and mixed plastics) and divert the greatest tonnages.

WW: How is managing California solid waste different than in other states?

WC: Volume. California's waste generation rate alone makes it the 800-pound gorilla of waste.

But Californians also have de-monstrated that they have a re-sponsibility for managing this waste and have embraced the re-cycling ethic. Programs like backyard composting and vermicomposting have strong public and business support. California's ag-ricultural sector also provides leadership in alternative farming methods including composting.

In addition, California has faced its share of special problems in 1994. Fires, floods and earthquakes have posed unique problems for waste management. The CIWMB developed the Integrated Waste Management Disaster Re-sponse Plan to provide for the handling, storage, processing, transportation and diversion - or disposal if absolutely necessary - of solid waste resulting from a state or local emergency.

WW: Why should other states consider implementing a waste management board?

WC: Every state faces unique po-litical and policy issues. A waste management board can help reach consensus in a contentious area.

Providing an open, public decision-making process improves the quality of decisions and provides some comfort to people that their concerns are being seriously considered. California re-thought so-lid waste regulation and fundamentally changed its direction. The formation of the Board was a conscious decision to create an open public deliberative process to deal with a solid waste crisis.

For example, the City of Redding significantly stepped up its cooperative efforts since 1989, and will now comfortably exceed the 25-by-95 goal. The City of Berkeley has reduced waste by collecting new materials and working even more with businesses in the area.

The CIWMB has built upon its efforts to streamline the regulatory process, forging a cooperative climate with the regulated community to develop mutually-acceptable solutions.

WW: How successfully has the Board enforced its mandates?

WC: Obtaining 1995's 25 percent diversion rate is a result of aggressively implementing diversion programs and recycling market development efforts. Without the full cooperation of local jurisdictions and businesses, this goal could never be attainable.