Over 130 Jurisdictions Meet California's Waste Diversion Law

Oxnard, CA - Eleven more Bay Area cities have been added to the growing list of jurisdictions meeting California's waste diversion law, according to the California Integrated Waste Management Board, the State's primary recycling agency.

Meeting in Oxnard, the Board ruled that 44 additional jurisdictions had satisfied the requirement to divert from landfill at least 50 percent of their waste beginning in 2000. The Waste Board has approved 139 jurisdictions since February 2002; there are 445 reporting jurisdictions in all. Over the next several months, the Board will continue to review and consider the diversion efforts of those jurisdictions that are not yet approved.

"Eliminating waste whenever possible and recycling to save valuable resources has become second nature to Californians," said Waste Board Chair Linda Moulton-Patterson. "Cities and counties throughout the state have created more opportunities than ever before for their residents and businesses to help reduce waste disposal. As a result, California's recycling efforts continue to flourish."

At its regular June meeting, the Board approved five Bay Area cities with 2000 diversion rates at or over 50 percent including, in Alameda County, the City of Fremont (62 percent); in Contra Costa County, the Town of Danville (51 percent); in San Mateo County, the cities of Millbrae (50 percent), and Woodside (57 percent); and in Santa Clara County, the City of Morgan Hill (53 percent).

The Board also determined that six other jurisdictions, although not reaching the 50 percent level, had satisfied the law through a "good faith effort." These include, in Alameda County, the cities of Berkeley (49 percent), Emeryville (48 percent); in Contra Costa County, the cities of Lafayette (45 percent) and Walnut Creek (47 percent); in San Mateo County, the City of San Bruno (49 percent); and in Santa Clara County, the City of Campbell (46 percent).

Public Resources Code section 41780, enacted by AB 939--the Integrated Waste Management Act (Chapter 1095, Statutes of 1989)--requires every city and county in the state to divert from landfill at least 50 percent of the waste generated within their jurisdiction in 2000. The Legislature amended this statute in 2000, requiring jurisdictions to sustain their waste diversion efforts into the future.

To achieve their high diversion rates, jurisdictions have tailored new waste handling infrastructures from options that include curbside recycling, material recovery facilities and composting operations that are supported by comprehensive waste prevention and public education efforts. Jurisdictions that did not meet the 50 percent diversion requirement in 2000 may petition the Board for one or more time extensions, for a maximum of five years. No single extension can be for more than three years, and no extension may be effective beyond January 1, 2006. At its meeting, the Board granted time extensions to 18 jurisdictions. Thirty-four extensions have been approved to date.

Alternatively, the Board can determine that a jurisdiction's "good faith efforts" to implement comprehensive diversion programs have satisfied the requirement even if diversion levels are below 50 percent. A jurisdiction that does not meet the 50 percent diversion requirement and does not receive a time extension, a "good faith effort" finding, or an alternative diversion goal will be placed on a compliance order and could be subject to fines. The Board can issue fines of up to $10,000 a day for noncompliance.