Reducing Waste Residences ahead of businesses in recycling
As someone who works in the municipal solid waste industry, I am constantly trying to educate myself about what the next "big thing" is coming down the road. New landfill technologies like methane retrieval, new ways to compost commercial food waste or even new products or materials that may eventually wind up in our waste streams are all interesting topics for me.
I also follow potential solid waste legislation, because the state plays a large part in the who, what, how, where and why of solid waste. For example, this year, as in many past years, a bill has been introduced that would increase the amount each municipality is required to recycle to 50 percent, and to 75 percent by 2020.
Happily, the residential sector in the towns and cities of Danville, Lafayette, Moraga, Orinda and Walnut Creek are doing a great job at recycling. In 2009, all these communities exceeded the 50 percent requirement. On the other hand, the commercial sector recycled only about 28 percent of the materials they generated in 2009. I understand that there could be issues with some businesses having a recycling program. For instance, maybe there just isn't room for an outdoor recycling container. That may be valid, but usually with a little thought there are ways to get around these kinds of problems.
Eventually, most generators of commercial garbage are going to have to get on the bandwagon and start recycling. According to the Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32 — Nunez), companies that generate at least four cubic yards of garbage per week will have to implement a recycling program, beginning in July 2012.
By Lois Courchaine