As of July 1st, 2012 California state law (AB341) makes mandatory commercial recycling a legal requirement throughout the state.
In preparation for the new state law, Alameda County’s Waste Management Authority created an ordinance specifying which materials must be recycled, the recycling services required by East Bay cities, and how the law will be enforced in Alameda County. Beginning January 1st, 2013 if business or property owners who are not in compliance with this new law, they may be subject to warnings and possible fines.
Until now business and residential properties were not required to recycle. The new county and state laws target the two groups that recycle the least. Alameda County’s ordinance was designed to help the county reach its long-term goal to ensure recyclables and compostables make up less than 10 percent of landfill by 2020.
Recycling Costs and Requirements
As a business owner, you might have a common question: Will this cost more money? Recycling could cost more money, but the good news is that it is more likely businesses and landlords will be breaking even or possibly even saving money. Most recycling services cost half as much as garbage rates. According to OaklandLocal.com, if high waste generating businesses are appropriately distributing their recycling and garbage, the total cost for both recycling and garbage may be less than one would pay for just garbage collection.
All businesses, commercial property owners, property managers and institutions such as hospitals and nonprofit organizations that generate four or more cubic yards of garbage per week are required to:
- Arrange for recycling collection,
- Provide containers for recyclables
- Mark recycling containers with information on how to separate, and
- Provide employees/tenants with information on recycling.
It is possible for businesses to receive a waiver of exemption for reasons such as financial hardship, limited space, and lack of service. Some East Bay cities have opted out of the county-wide ordinance for a period of time or indefinitely, in which case Alameda County Waste Management is working provide the city’s recycling options. For information on recycling collection services available in your city, see the county’s City by City information page.
Resources to Help You
Do you need help setting up or improving your business’s recycling program? Help is available! You can:
- Fill out the county’s Waste Management online form or call the Mandatory Recycling line at 510.891.6575. Consultations from Alameda County are available by phone, email or on site at your business.
- Download free materials that will assist businesses to comply with the new requirements.
- Review the information available and get answers to frequently asked questions on the Alameda County Recycling Rules site.