In the 1980's and 90's, the management of solid waste became a major issue in California and throughout the country. Not only were we producing an increasing amount of solid waste each year, but we were also running out of places to put it. To address these issues, in 1989 the governor of California signed Assembly Bill 939 into law, creating the California Integrated Waste Management Act. This law established aggressive requirements for the state and its cities and counties to divert solid waste from landfills through recycling and other waste reduction programs.
By 1995 each jurisdiction was to divert a minimum of 25 percent of its waste stream from landfills. By the year 2000, the diversion requirement increased to 50 percent of the waste stream. Public Works staff and the city's solid waste contractor, Rainbow Environmental Services, work closely to ensure compliance with the Integrated Waste Management Act. In 2006, the City Council approved residential recycling and green waste separation via a 3-cart automated collection system. This has reduced our waste to landfill by more than 10%.
State lawmakers are continually examining statewide solid waste disposal and recycling efforts. In October 2011, the governor signed Assembly Bill 341 into law, creating mandatory recycling for certain types of commercial businesses and multi-family properties. These requirements are effective July 1, 2012. It is anticipated that in 2012, Huntington Beach and Rainbow Environmental will be offering expanded commercial recycling programs to meet the new state requirements of AB 341.
Huntington Beach has successfully met all of the state's mandatory recycling and waste reduction goals to date, and a good part of this success is due to the cooperation and diligence of our citizens in handling their trash, recyclables and green waste responsibly. Additional information on diversion and recycling is available from the State of California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) web site.
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