California is moving the needle on recycling

By now you may know that California has a new state goal of diverting 75% of “garbage” from landfills by 2020. 2020 is a big year for the state. San Francisco and Oakland have their own goal of reaching zero waste by that year. The city of Mountain View has set the goal of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions to 20% below 1990 levels by that year. Why is 2020 so important?

Over twenty years ago, the California legislature mandated that 50% of landfill-bound materials had to be diverted to other uses. San Francisco, with its growing population opted for the higher goal of 75% several years later. The year 2020 is the target year for proving what can be accomplished in three generations. The idea of zero waste has gained momentum here in the United States because, whether aspiration or not, the technology, know-how, public will and information is now available for us to make it happen. Yet, according to CalRecycle, although some places in San Diego County are on their way to meeting the 75% recycling mandate, there are many places within that county and throughout California where cities, towns, municipalities and unincorporated areas struggle to divert even 50% of their landfill-bound materials.

Percent Diverted from Landfills, San Diego County

So what is zero waste?

Zero waste is the perspective that no materials are sent to landfills or incinerators. At Recology we believe in WASTE ZERO, which means making the best and highest use of all resources. There is a slight distinction. It is not enough to aspire to send nothing to landfills. Rather, the idea of WASTE ZERO is that the materials that are diverted from end-of-life destinations should be used in smart ways.

Raising the bar on mandated recycling isn’t just about the destination of landfill-diverted materials. Governor Jerry Brown signed the legislation not only to save our natural resources, but also to create jobs. Assembly member Chesbro, who authored the bill, said that the original 50% mandate helped to create 125,000 new jobs since 1989 and provide $4 billion in yearly salaries. Members of StopWaste.Org mentioned that for every job lost at a landfill, three more were created in recycling. Here’s to more jobs! Let’s keep recycling!

5 Responses to “California is moving the needle on recycling

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    9 years ago

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    9 years ago

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    8 years ago

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