Commercial Recycling – It’s the Law!
California State Assembly Bill 341 (AB 341) made commercial recycling mandatory in 2012. A business (including public entities) that generates four (4) cubic yards or more of commercial solid waste per week or is a multifamily residential dwelling of five (5) units or more shall arrange for recycling services.
BackgroundAccording to information from a 2008 waste characterization study, commercial businesses generate almost 75% of the waste landfilled in California…and much of that material is readily recyclable. By increasing the recovery of these materials, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions can be reduced. The goal of the legislation is to recover 2 to 3 million pounds of recyclable material annually from 2020 and beyond to reduce GHG by 5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents.
Recycling benefits identified by CalRecycle include:
- Opportunities for businesses or multifamily complexes to save money.
- Creating jobs in California by providing materials for recycling manufacturing facilities.
- Reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
- Keeping valuable materials out of landfills.
- Creating a healthy environment for the community and future generations by recovering natural resources.
Businesses and Multi-Family units can comply with the law by subscribing to recycling service with the Environmental Resources Division. Recycling container service is half of the cost of equivalent trash containers. By adding recycling, and meeting or exceeding the 50% state mandated diversion goal, businesses can save money and help reduce their impact on the environment.
Environmental Resources staff are available to consult with business, and perform waste assessments, to help determine the best mix of recycling and waste containers (called right-sizing) to maximize both recovery and savings. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
Businesses and Multi-Family Units that choose not to use the Environmental Resources Division service and instead utilize a third-party or self-haul their recyclable material, must annually certify what materials are recycled, how they are being recycled and estimated monthly quantities. They must also commit to communicate any intent to alter the recycling service(s) to the Environmental Resources Division prior to implementing them. The Alternative Service Certification Form is linked below.
In certain situations, waivers may be granted for compliance with mandatory commercial recycling.
Qualifying circumstances include:
- Physical Space Waiver – Lack of sufficient space in multifamily complexes or businesses to provide additional recycling bins.
- De Minimis Waiver – generation of recyclable materials is less than 0.5 cubic yards per week.
Waivers are granted on a case-by-case basis and must be requested and verified every two years. To begin the waiver process, please complete the form below, and send it with supporting photographic evidence to email@example.com.