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October 2006


California exceeds waste diversion goal
Recycling now generates $4 billion in salaries and wages

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 trash.

The California Integrated Waste Management Board announced that the goal first set in the Integrated Waste Management Act of 1989 has been reached, reversing a time when residents and workplaces routinely landfilled 90 percent or more of their garbage.

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.

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.

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