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[GreenYes] California reaches 50% waste diversion goal

Apologies for Cross-Postings

California reaches environmental milestone: State
announces 50% waste diversion goal met

WHITTIER­Thank you California, you?ve done it!

After more than a decade of infrastructure and
effort, early years of doubt and nay saying and a
seismic shift in public opinion, California now
diverts 52 percent of the 76 million tons of
solid municipal wastes it generates yearly. The
official 52 percent statewide diversion rate
meets a legislatively imposed mandate and places
the state at the forefront of national efforts to reduce and recycle our trash.

Meeting at the Puente Hills Landfill Materials
Recovery Facility in the City of Whittier today,
the California Integrated Waste Management Board
announced that the goal first set forth in the
Integrated Waste Management Act of 1989 has been
reached, reversing a time when residents and
workplaces routinely landfilled 90 percent of their garbage.

?I am proud of how California has once again
shown the nation what can be done through
perseverance and ingenuity,? said Board Chair
Margo Reid Brown. ?Achieving this goal required a
long-term commitment from all sectors of private
and public enterprises. I deeply appreciate what has been accomplished.?

Calculated through a series of comprehensive
standards used by the California Integrated Waste
Management Board, the new rate reflects the
impact of population and economic growth during
the year. The Board reviews waste generation and
disposal tonnages and annual reports submitted to
the State by hundreds of cities, counties and
regional waste management compacts. In addition,
waste tonnages are calculated based on landfill
disposal fees collected by the State Board of
Equalization and paid to the Waste Board. The
Waste Board receives approximately $1.40 for
every ton of waste disposed in California landfills.

The Act required individual cities and counties
to cut their disposal rates in half, but left the
mechanics for doing so largely up to each
jurisdiction, in light of their individual needs
and available resources. The Board provided State
sweeping oversight, as well as technical guidance
and financial assistance on programs to increase waste diversion.

When it comes to disposal tonnages, the Puente
Hills Landfill is the largest in the state. In
2005, it received more than 3.9 million tons of
garbage. Overall, the facility encompasses more
than 1,300 acres, of which 433 acres are used for
disposal. The landfill is permitted to receive up
to 13,200 tons of agricultural, municipal,
construction and demolition, industrial,
biosolids, tires and other waste daily.

The state?s landmark Integrated Waste Management
Act of 1989 charged the Board with implementing
far-reaching provisions and moving cities and
counties­and ultimately the state, itself­to
higher waste diversion levels. In 1990,
California diverted just 10 percent of its waste
stream, causing consternation in some circles as
to the remaining landfill capacity needed to meet disposal requirements.

Today, California views the folly of throwing so
much away in reminisce. Nearly 500 cities,
counties and regional waste management compacts
around the state contribute to a multi-million
dollar infrastructure of waste handling options
for residents and businesses alike. Curbside
waste pickup services, recycling bins, waste
sorting facilities, green waste composting, used
oil collection centers, hundreds of permitted and
active landfills, household hazardous waste
amnesty days or centers, recycled content
procurement practices, broadcast and written
public education campaigns, electronic waste
stewardship, waste tire tracking manifests,
?green? buildings, public recognition awards and
myriad other programs abound, routing tons of
salvageable materials to innovative markets that
didn?t exist just a few years ago.

The outcome is a statewide municipal waste
diversion record, a blossoming recycling-oriented
economy and the creation and expansion of robust
markets for recyclable materials that leads the
nation by example. In California, waste recycling
and management ranks on a scale comparable to the
state?s vaunted entertainment industry in terms
of produced yearly revenue and is responsible for
the creation of thousands of jobs.

By reducing the trash thrown away and recycling
it or reusing it, California has created a
mainstream industry of statewide importance
comprised of 5,300 establishments. Recycling now
accounts for 85,000 jobs, generates $4 billion in
salaries and wages and produces $10 billion worth
of goods and services annually.

The environmental impacts of recycling are
astounding. Each year recycling saves enough
energy to power 1.4 million California homes and
reduces water pollution by 27,047 tons.
Furthermore, each year recycling saves 14 million
trees and helps to reduce air pollution by
165,142 tons. All of these efforts are working to
reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an amount
equal to taking 3.8 million passenger cars off the highway.

The California Integrated Waste Management Board
is the State?s leading authority on recycling and
waste reduction. It promotes a zero waste
California in partnership with local government,
industry, and the public. This means reducing
waste whenever possible, promoting the management
of all materials to their highest and best use,
and protecting public health and safety and the environment.

The California Integrated Waste Management Board
is one of six boards, departments, and offices
within the California Environmental Protection
Agency (<>Cal/EPA).

# # #

Zero Waste California
to learn more about reducing waste.

August 24, 2006, 2006-Release 30
For more information contact: Jon Myers | Lanny Clavecilla
(916) 341-6300; E-mail the
<mailto:opa@no.address>Public Affairs Office <opa@no.address>

Gary Liss & Associates
Fax: 916-652-0485

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