Two advocacy groups and a consulting firm they hired have prepared a 20-page report saying a “precipitous decline” in funding for California’s bottle bill has led to redemption rates falling from a peak of 85 percent to 66 percent in recent years. The bottle bill legislation has an 80 percent target rate.
West Coast News
Plastic film has long been identified as a major contaminant in municipal materials recovery programs. Research from the West Coast shows just how challenging it has been to educate residents around proper bag behavior.
According to a study from The Recycling Partnership, large and mid-sized cities in California see an average contamination rate of around 20%, a finding that underscores the complications of aligning enthusiastic residents with local-program realities.
The Recycling Partnership, an organization that is backed by corporate stakeholders and is geared toward improving municipal recycling in the U.S., undertook research in 2019 to better understand material quality in communities of 50,000 people or more in California, Oregon and Washington.
The ban in California could have impacts on the sector in other states, because any company importing goods to California would have to comply with its plastic standards. Much like California’s emissions standards tend to cause changes in the automotive industry nationally, such a bill has the potential to shift the plastic landscape more broadly.
The second-largest city in the country also has a very ambitious waste diversion goal: 90% by 2025. That means Los Angeles must stay creative to continue managing the massive volume of recyclables its residents generate.
“We have a vast amount of bins all throughout the city,” said Robert Potter, city of Los Angeles division manager for the Bureau of Sanitation. “There are roughly 3 million containers that are out there on any given week.”
The city’s residential recycling program relies on city crews to service 750,000 single- and multi-family homes.
In a letter to AB 1080 sponsor, California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, the National Waste and Recycling Association (NWRA) urged California lawmakers to incorporate in legislation incentives to boost domestic recycling markets and capacity. AB1080 and its companion bill SB54, legislation known as California Circular Economy and Plastic Pollution Reduction Act, would require a 75 percent reduction in waste from single-use plastic products by 2030 and requires all single-use plastic products in California to be recyclable or compostable by 2030.
Five plastics recycling projects will take in a total of $11.7 million in California state grants. The awarded companies are targeting scrap plastic from a variety of sources.
The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) recently approved its 2018-19 Recycled Fiber, Plastic and Glass Grant Program recipients. All five awardees are targeting some amount of plastics with the funds.
City officials in Tacoma, Washington, have announced several proposals to change its recycling program. The city currently offers curbside recycling service to residents, multifamily tenants and commercial customers.
However, the city reports in a news release that “the majority of Tacoma’s recyclables are sold overseas, mainly in Asia, where countries have adopted strict policies regarding material quality. Materials that do not meet the requirements are rejected.”
One of the Electronic Reusing Association’s (ERA) prime missions is to help other immigrants and charities needing technology. ERA focuses on reusing and refurbishing laptops, computers, monitors, servers, printers, cell phones and many other electronic devices. As a non-profit, they strongly believe in tackling the growing problem of e-waste. In a short time, they have become industry leaders in data destruction and securely repurposing hundreds of tons of equipment.
The California State Association of Counties (CSAC) recently sent a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom calling for the establishment of a statewide commission on recycling market development and is asking all counties to follow suit.