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[GreenYes] Governor's Strategic Growth Plan and Zero Waste by 2025

Apologies for Cross-Postings

FYI, this was just sent to the Governor's office.

From: Gary Liss <gary@no.address>
Subject: Governor's Strategic Growth Plan and Zero Waste by 2025

January 10, 2006

Terry Tamminen

Office of the Governor
State Capitol
Sacramento, CA 95814

Dear Mr. Tamminen:

First, I would like to thank you for your challenge at the Annual Conference of the California Resource Recovery Association (CRRA) that we pursue our goal of Zero Waste by 2025. In keeping with that challenge, I was also excited about the innovative proposals from Governor Schwarzenegger last week in his Strategic Growth Plan. I would like to suggest how those two issues could be successfully linked.

In many European nations, they have adopted significant fees on landfills of $20-40/ton to fund recycling programs and decrease greenhouse gases. In San Jose, the combined fees and taxes on landfilling are over $19/ton, and they have one of the highest waste diversion rates in the state.

I propose that the state adopt a $20-40/ton Zero Waste Fee on landfills that would be structured as follows:
* The Fee would be levied on all wastes disposed of in the state or transported for disposal out of the state, to ensure that wastes are not transferred out of state to avoid this fee.
* The Fee would credit all local fees charged already. This would level the playing field, and not encourage wastes to be transferred from one county to another. For example, in San Jose if the state enacted a $30/ton fee, San Jose landfills would be levied at $30/ton (ZW Fee) - $19/ton (local fees), or $11/ton.
* Half of the revenue from the Zero Waste landfill fee would be used to cover the local government match for state bond issues, structured as follows:
a. The amount of funds to be used would be proportional to the percentage of materials used in construction projects under the bond issue made of reused, recycled or composted materials.
b. These funds will decrease over time as the amount of wastes decreases to landfills. As a result, these funds should be viewed as only part of the repayment plan for the local match on bond issues. For example, it could provide the first five years of matches, while state or local governments adopt other funding sources to replace these funds. Then these funds would be phased out over the following five years, as wastes dramatically decrease.
* Half of the revenues from the fee would go to adopt and implement local Zero Waste plans, policies, and programs, including:
a. Zero Waste plans for communities and businesses
b. Development, consideration and adoption of local Zero Waste policies, including policies to Reduce wastes, Redesign processes and programs to eliminate wastes, product and packaging takeback programs, and procurement of products that are environmentally preferable and sustainable.
c. Technical assistance and training programs, including:
i. Development of procurement documents to solicit Zero Waste services, including collection, processing and marketing services for discarded materials (only if incentives are included that make it more cost effective to eliminate and reduce waste than to continue wasting)
ii. Certification and training programs for skills and knowledge required to plan and implement Zero Waste programs
iii. Peer matching and consulting assistance, managed by a nonprofit recycling or Zero Waste organization (like CRRA)
iv. A Recycling Information Network using state colleges and universities to compile and analyze data locally while training students to enter this field and develop curricula and classes for training on Zero Waste.
d. Planning, engineering, permitting, siting, land acquisition, equipment and construction for the capitalization of Zero Waste programs (not operating costs, as these funds will be decreasing over time), including:
i. Reuse facilities
ii. Recycling facilities
iii. Composting facilities
iv. Resource Recovery Parks
v. Anaerobic digestion (but NOT landfills, "conversion technologies" or "transformation" facilities)
vi. Market development activities for reuse, recycling and composting
These funds should build on existing private, nonprofit and public programs first, and not duplicate existing investments. The state should work with the food industry, landscapers, and builders in planning programs and projects to absorb organics and materials from construction and demolition projects.

This proposal is one that I believe could gain broad support from local government and the recycling industry in the state. As the recycling industry has recently been documented to be as large as the automobile industry in the country, that type of support could be significant in advancing this proposal.

I would like to explore your interest in the Administration sponsoring this proposal as part of the Strategic Growth Plan and implementation of your Global Warming initiatives. I can be reached at 916-652-7850.

Sincerely yours,
Gary Liss

Cc: Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez
Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata
CIWMB Boardmembers
CRRA Boardmembers and Global Recycling Council Executive Committee
Mark Murray, Californians Against Waste
Heidi Melander, Northern CA Recycling Assn.
Linda Christopher, GrassRoots Recycling Network
Karen Smith,

Gary Liss
Gary Liss & Associates
4395 Gold Trail Way
Loomis, CA 95650-8929
Fax: 916-652-0485

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