Calif. Recycling Gets Big Boost with 2 New Laws

California has passed laws increasing its recycling goal to 75 percent by 2020 and will spend $10 million to $20 million annually on recycling incentives.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 341, which increases the state’s goal from 50 percent and matches Florida’s 75 percent recycling goal as the most ambitious in the United States. California’s new target is for the state as a whole, with a goal to reduce, recycle or compost 75 percent, said Nick Lapis, legislative coordinator for Californians Against Waste, in an-e-mail. The previous 50 percent goal was a diversion requirement on each local jurisdiction, he pointed out.

The recycling goals bill, sponsored by Assembly Member Wesley Chesbro (D – North Coast), requires every commercial business, institution and apartment building to implement recycling programs.

Brown also signed Assembly Bill 1149, sponsored by Assembly Member Rich Gordon (D- Menlo Park), which will provide market-based incentives to plastics processors and recyclers, according to a news release.

The strategy is expected to create more than 60,000 green jobs in the state over the next eight years.

 “Through innovation and thoughtful policy, California will continue to be a national leader in resource conservation and recycling. With the adoption of this legislation, we take the next step of turning our recycling success into economic value and green jobs,” said California Natural Resources Secretary John Laird.

“Recycling is a powerful fuel that helps propel California’s engine,” Chesbro said. “California’s commitment to recycling has created 125,000 new jobs over the past two decades. The industry generates $4 billion a year in salaries and produces $10 billion worth of goods and services annually.”

On the incentives bill its sponsor Gordon said, “When we ship used soda and water bottles to China, we are exporting thousands of jobs overseas that could just as readily exist in California if the appropriate investments were set up to support it.”

The advocacy group Californians Against Waste backed both bills.

 “Recycling’s a proven job creator,” said Mark Murray, executive director of the group. “Assembly Member Chesbro’s AB 341 targets the 15 million tons of recyclables that the commercial sector and apartments still send to landfills every year.”

On the plastics incentives bill Murray said, “California has been the banana republic to China.

“Today, the plastic market program directly supports more than 750 jobs. But we are collecting enough plastic to support 4 to 5 times that many jobs.”


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