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California opens up ambitious recycling dialogue

United States – The California state agency CalRecycle has released a new paper detailing how it believes the ambitious objective of securing a 75% recycling rate by 2020 can be best managed.

According to the agency’€™s Director Caroll Mortensen, it is hoped the document will provide the missing next step in the Golden State’€™s recycling evolution. ‘€˜We are planning for action,’€™ she says, adding that this will yield ‘€˜legislature concepts for legislative change and a vision of a new paradigm for solid waste management’€™.

The paper’€™s recommendations include investing more in infrastructure, extending the existing producer responsibility system and reducing the amount of waste produced in the US state by a total of 22 million tons before the deadline of 2020. The biggest portion of this waste, 32%, is made up of organics, followed by 28% inerts. Mrs Mortensen believes that targeting waste reduction could potentially prevent 200 million tons of waste from entering landfill each year.

In addition, the agency says that maintaining recycling success ‘€˜requires stronger markets’€™ relating to overall recycled material as well as recovered material. The public also has a pronounced role to play in the 75% scenario as the paper names society’€™s participation as a key influence. To boost public involvement, a series of recycling-specific workshops and ‘€˜webinars’€™ will be organised over the coming 18 months.

‘€˜There are a lot of bold elements in the plan, and a lot of things that we have been suggesting for a long time are included here,’€™ remarks Nick Lapis, Legislative Coordinator for environmental organisation Californians Against Waste. He adds that his group especially applauds the emphasis on recycling rather than diversion rates to ensure the projected waste reduction standard.

Disposing of 37 million tons of waste in 2010, the CalRecycle paper states that the US state has recorded a recycling rate of roughly 49% to date. Last year, California’€™s Governor Jerry Brown signed a law requiring all businesses, institutions and multi-family dwellings to establish recycling and/or composting programmes.


To read the entire paper, visit:

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