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Gov. Jerry Brown signs California apartment recycling bill

September 8, 2011 |  2:34 pm

Recycle2

You want to recycle, but maybe there are no bins at your apartment complex and you can't -- or don't want to -- go to a recycling center on your own. You have plenty of company, but starting next year most landlords will be required to change that.

Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday signed the Renter's Right to Recycle Act, which requires that recycling services be provided for paper, plastic and cans in buildings with five or more apartments.

"Before this bill, many renters could recycle only by hauling their waste across town to a recycling center. Green living is the future and nothing is more basic than being able to recycle where you live,” said the bill's author, Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield (D-Woodland Hills).

An earlier effort by Blumenfield was vetoed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Seventy percent of California residents of single-family homes can recycle from their houses. However, fewer than 40% of the state's 7 million apartment dwellers have that option, so it's no surprise that the recycling rate in apartments is just 15%. (Nearly 35% of Angelenos live in apartments.)

The bill has the support of the California Apartment Assn., which represents thousands of landlords. The Los Angeles City Council also is exploring ways to increase apartment recycling levels. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has set a zero waste goal.

Some landlords say they don’t have space for recycling bins or collection trucks, or that they have trouble getting their tenants to sort the trash or that their buildings have garbage chutes that don’t suit recycling.

In Los Angeles, 180,000 apartments don’t have recycling in their buildings, according to Bureau of Sanitation statistics. But the City Council is considering making it a requirement as the city works toward the zero-waste goal. The city boasts of a 70% rate of diverting trash from landfills, which are filling to capacity.

Blumenfield said that if no recycling plan can be agreed upon for a particular building, the building can be exempted from the regulation. And it will be the recycling companies, which have incentive to make a new system work, that will certify a building’s inability to institute recycling, he said.

Trash and recycling hauler Waste Management Inc. is building a $40-million recycling facility in Sun Valley that could provide 70 long-term jobs, said Douglas Corcoran, director of operations for the company. Blumenfield’s bill, he said, is “good for the environment and good for the economy.”

ALSO:

Hopes for improving recycling at apartments

Recycling: More confusing than it should be

Can you recycle that? Some answers

-- Mary MacVean

Photo: Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield (D-Woodland Hills), sponsor of the Renter's Right to Recycle Act, speaks at a recent news conference on the new law flanked by, from left, Ryan Minniear, executive director of the California Apartment Assn., Los Angeles; Douglas Corcoran, director of operations for trash and recycling hauler Waste Management; and Mike Young, political and development associate of the California League of Conservation Voters. Credit: Assembly Democrats

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