The Many Veiled Rewards of Complying With AB341
The cost and logistical complexities of aggressively implementing green initiatives prevent it from occupying the top priority shelf of most profit-driven businesses. What many companies have yet to discover are the “remarkable returns” reaped by those that carry out environmental conservation missions with staunch sincerity and purpose.
California’s Mandatory Commercial Recycling Law, also known as Assembly Bill 341, aims to significantly reduce solid commercial waste dumped in landfills by requiring businesses to implement systematic and sustainable recycling efforts. It is, by far, one of the most powerful collective commitments designed to help save the environment through commercial waste diversion.
Decreasing waste materials dumped in landfills translate to decreased greenhouse gas emissions. Consequently, the more materials recycled, the lesser emission of methane, air toxics and criteria pollutants from landfills. Also, redirecting organic materials into compost products enhances soil and water quality, provides carbon storage in soils and reduces the use of pesticides and fertilizers.
Compelling Rewards Beneath AB341
But apart from fulfilling AB 341’s legal mandate to recycle more and landfill less, a business stands to reap other high-value, albeit not instantaneously detectible, economic and social returns:Increased company savings due to the identification and reduction of waste streams and the development of smart, earth-friendly purchasing choices
Increased profits as a result of reduced waste management and trash disposal costs
Thriving businesses will push the growth of tax revenues to fund more public welfare and infrastructure development programs
Beyond the above-listed financial benefits, adhering to AB 341’s edicts will produce other positive and more-lasting impacts on the horizon:Creation of new jobs as a result of increased recycling programs and more materials for recycling facilities
Increased availability of recyclable materials that maximize the use of recycled content products and increase the inventory for recycled-content product manufacturers
Generation of new sources of biofuels to help power the earth’s steadily rising energy demands
Creation of healthier, more productive communities and future generations by recovering natural resources and reducing global warming pollution
Who Should Comply & How?
AB 341 requires that all commercial or public entities (firms, partnerships, proprietorships, joint-stock companies, corporations, associations organized as for-profit or non-profit entities, strip malls, industrial facilities, schools, state universities, community colleges, special district or federal/state/local/regional agencies) that produce four or more cubic yards of commercial solid waste per week should arrange for recycling services.
This call-to-action also extends to multi-family residential dwellings composed of five units or more regardless of the amount of commercial solid waste they generate.
Businesses, tasked to separate recyclable materials from their solid mainstream, may opt to self-haul their solid waste, subscribe to a hauler or arrange for a pick-up service so the sorted materials may be diverted from disposal to recycling, reuse or composting programs.
Another alternative is subscribing to a professional recycling service provider that offers comprehensive and expert zero waste to landfill initiatives such as mixed waste processing and source separation.
Onwards To A ZERO LANDFILL California
Enacted on May 7, 2012, AB 341 sets a statewide goal of 75% disposal reduction by the year 2020 or specifically, the reduction of 5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents by said year. To achieve this, the commercial sector must recycle an additional 2-3 million tons of waste every year until 2020 and after.
This is a goal that, though achievable, can be highly daunting. As one of the world’s most heavily commercialized regions, California’s journey to achieve the goals set forth by AB 341 will surely be fraught with complications such as challenging the business sector’s innate disposition to prioritize increased profit margins above and over anything else. Another consideration is the hard-as-rock culture of American excess that gives most people the illusion of absolute freedom in nearly everything, including the right to discard any and all their waste in whatever fashion they want, whenever they want.
Fortunately, fulfilling AB 341’s mandate will result in increased business savings in the long-term! And cultures can be revamped and refined responsibly given the right motivational tools. These, at least, should be enough powerful inspiration for the commercial sector to comply with AB 341 immediately.