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California Legislature OKs Bill on Recycling, Composting Equipment Tax Exemption

Article-California Legislature OKs Bill on Recycling, Composting Equipment Tax Exemption

The California legislature has passed a bill creating a sales tax exemption on equipment used for recycling and composting.

The bill, AB 199, now goes to Gov. Jerry Brown to consider signing into law. The proposed legislation would provide a sales-and-use tax exemption on recycling and composting equipment, as well as equipment that uses recycled content in the manufacturing of new products, according to a news release from the Sacramento-based environmental group, Californians Against Waste.

California exports 20 million tons of recyclables annually, worth nearly $8 billion, according to CalRecycle, the state’s recycling agency.

“This legislation can help us make the most of the materials we too often discard or ship overseas,” said Assembly Member Susan Eggman (D-Stockton), who has worked on the issue for three years. “I’ve seen dozens of local companies turn trash into treasure by recycling discards into new products. This not only eliminates the need for extracting new raw materials, it helps create manufacturing jobs.”

CalRecycle estimates that meeting the state’s recycling goals with in-state infrastructure could generate an additional 110,000 jobs, above the existing 125,000 employed in recycling. Also according to the government agency, for every ton of materials that gets recycled instead of being disposed, California’s 5,300 recycling establishments will spend an additional $101 in salaries, produce $275 more in goods and services and generate $135 more in sales.

For California to meet its recycling goal of 75 percent by 2020, it needs to collect and divert from the state’s waste stream an estimated 22 million tons, the group said. The law will require commercial generators of organic waste to compost or anaerobically digest the material, increasing the need for infrastructure for handling.

In August the California legislature passed a bill requiring local governments to plan for the building of sufficient composting infrastructure to process organic waste. AB 876, authored by Assembly member Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento), would force local governments, beginning Aug. 1, 2017, to assess the amount of organic waste that will be generated in a region during a 15-year period. They would be required to identify locations for new or expanded organic waste recycling facilities capable of handling this material.

Meanwhile, California is reportedly struggling to reach its recycling goal. Since the recycling goal was announced, California’s source reduction, recycling and composting rates haven’t improved from 50 percent.

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