California to expand jobs and recycling with
California Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation
establishing the most ambitious recycling goal in the nation
for California, at the same time enacting incentives aimed at
increasing recycled material processing and manufacturing in-state.
Together, this strategy is aimed at creating more than 60,000
green jobs in the state over the next 8 years.
Assembly Bill 341 by Assembly Member Wesley Chesbro (D – North
Coast) sets a 75 percent recycling goal for California by 2020
– the most ambitious in the nation. Additionally, the measure
requires every commercial business, institution and apartment
building to implement recycling programs.
Assembly Bill 1149 by Assembly Member Rich Gordon (D – Menlo
Park) will provide market-based incentives of $10 to $20 million
annually to processors and manufacturers of recycled plastic.
Chesbro’s AB 341 builds on the success of AB 939, the California
Integrated Waste Management Act passed in 1989. The legislation
set ambitious recycling targets and helped develop California’s
extensive recycling infrastructure. AB 341 expands on that success
by requiring businesses, institutions and apartment buildings
to subscribe to recycling service and establishing a new statewide
goal of source reducing, recycling or composting 75 percent of
the waste we generate by 2020.
Assembly Member Gordon’s AB 1149 takes a market-based approach
to ensuring that California realizes that full economic as well
as environmental benefit of our recycling efforts.
“When we ship used soda and water bottles to China, we are exporting
thousands of jobs overseas that could just as readily exist in
California if the appropriate investments were set up to support
it,” said Assemblyman Rich Gordon, who chairs the Assembly Budget
Subcommittee that oversees all natural resource agencies. “AB
1149 builds on the success of the Plastic Market Development
program and will create and support thousands of jobs while helping
Under the Bottle Bill program, Californians annually collect
about 500 million pounds of plastic beverage containers for recycling.
Historically, more than 80 percent of these containers have been
shipped overseas for processing and recycling into new products.
“California has been the banana republic to China,” said Murray.
“We dutifully clean up and collect billions of used soda and
water bottles and ship them off to China at a loss. They add
labor and value processing them into the polyester clothing and
accessories that they sell back to us at Target and Banana Republic.”
“Today, the plastic market program directly supports more than
750 jobs. But we are collecting enough plastic to support 4 to
5 times that many jobs. AB 1149 creates the incentives and the
potential for hundreds, if not thousands of new jobs.”
Both bills were sponsored by the environmental group Californians
Against Waste and ultimately had broad support from recyclers,
reclaimers, waste haulers, local governments, plastic product
manufacturers, retailers, beverage industry and environmental