Recycling Laws ~ every little bit helps

Happy New Year!  Maybe you are starting the year out with a goal of living with less, out of necessity possibly, or because you feel you can make a difference.  For those who need a little help, California has enacted many laws to guide you.

In fact, California enacted 745 new laws to begin this year.  In reviewing the new laws list, I found at least 37 laws dealing specifically with, what I would consider, environmental issues.

In attempting to cover these I’ve grouped them into the headings of: recycling, energy, natural resources, and a subset specifically dealing with our food and water.

If you are looking for a list of laws with all the legal-ese you can stand, there is a pdf available with links to the enacted bill:

Admittedly, it takes some time to read through each actual bill and figure out what is being said.  I plan to take these laws in groups as mentioned above, read the bill, and attempt to decipher for others and myself.

Here goes.  First in my four part series about the environmental laws California enacted this past year.  We’ll start with recycling because there are only four new laws that appear to deal specifically with this topic.


California Beverage Container Recycling and Litter Reduction Act

This law intends to increase convenience of redemption and recycling by supporting development of easily accessible recycling centers.  What they plan to do exactly to improve access is not clear but the goal of the program is to increase recycling to 80% of all beverage containers.


Renters’ Right to Recycle Act

Apartment building landlords will have to start providing recycling services for 7 million California tenants.  Permits won’t be issued if the plans do not include recycle facilities in buildings with five or more units.  There are some exceptions to offering this service, but it’s a start.  Currently, fewer than 40% of individuals residing in residential units have access to recycling.


Environment: Green Business

Declares “intent” of the Legislature to enact legislation to establish a program for certification of businesses that adopt environmentally preferable business practices.  Those who reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduce waste generation, and increase energy efficiency.  No specifics on how this will be done, but at least they are thinking about it.


California Beverage Container Recycling and Litter Reduction Act

This law extends an already existing law that was scheduled to expire on January 1, 2012 to January 1, 2017.  It provides funding to pay for programs aimed at increasing recycling by establishing actual recycling facilities and to product manufacturers using recycled plastics that ultimately will produce a finished product in the state.   Here’s your chance, until 2017 anyway, to come up with methods to reuse plastics and get a government subsidy and do a good thing for the planet.


Plastic Bags and Compostable Status

Plastic products labeled as “compostable” must meet certain American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standard specifications before being labeled as such.  Failure to do so, before producing and marketing a product will result in penalty.  I wondered what it meant then to be labeled compostable.  On the Biobag box it states it is “certified compostable” and meets “ASTM D6400” standards.  Huh?  I’m not able to find an exact time frame the bag will completely compost, however, everything states it has to be compostable in a comparable amount of time to other compostable items and it must not diminish the value of the compost resulting from the composting process.

Hopefully, you are already recycling and composting, but if you’re not, it’s an easy New Year’s resolution to start!  Happy Recycling!