By James B. Clarke, Executive Director
We understand that owning an apartment building in California can be a good investment, but it is not always an easy investment. Keeping up with state and local regulations is an ongoing challenge – and from a trash hauling perspective – 2012 is shaping up to be an unusually tricky year for apartment owners.
Last October, Governor Brown signed AB 341 into law. AB 341 sets a 75% recycling goal for California by 2020; the most ambitious in the nation. The law mandates recycling for any commercial or public entity that generates 4 cubic yards of solid waste per week and multifamily residential dwellings of 5 or more units. Specifically, section 42649.2 of the law states:
(a) On and after July 1, 2012, a business that generates more than 4 cubic yards of commercial solid waste per week or is a multifamily residential dwelling of 5 units or more shall arrange for recycling services consistent with state or local laws or requirements including a local ordinance or agreement applicable to the collection, handling, or recycling of solid waste, to the extent that these services are offered and reasonably available from a local service provider.
(b) A commercial waste generator shall take at least one of the following actions:
(1) Source-separate recyclable materials from solid waste and subscribe to a basic level of recycling service that includes collection, self-hauling, or other arrangements for the pickup of the recyclable materials.
(2) Subscribe to a recycling service that may include mixed waste processing that yields diversion results comparable to source separation.
(c) A property owner of a multifamily residential dwelling may require tenants to source separate their recyclable materials to aid in compliance with this section.
While the state agency, Cal Recycle has not published the final rules or stated how local municipalities will enforce the new law, all apartment owners should ask, “Is my property in compliance?”
As you may know, we have developed a member discount and benefit program with Athens Services. Being a member of AAGLA’s Product Service Council for the last two years, Athens representatives have heard from many AAGLA members regarding the difficulty of implementing on-site “source-separated systems.” Expressed concerns have included limited room to stage extra blue recycling bins, existing trash chute infrastructure does not support source-separated systems, and recycling compliance from tenants may prove problematic. Furthermore, the mere presence of recycling bins can attract scavengers to your property.
Athens Services recognizes that apartment owners want to recycle, but many of these buildings must be able to overcome these inherent impediments.
In anticipation of higher recycling demands, Athens Services opened its first material recycling facility (MRF) in 1996 and continues to invest in its recycling infrastructure with two additional facilities in the permitting stages. Written within AB 341, the State of California clearly recognizes that mixed waste processing at a MRF is a highly effective form of recycling.
“The existing network of public and private solid waste processing and composting facilities provides a net environmental benefit to the communities served and represents a valuable asset and resource of this state, one that must be sustained and expanded to provide the additional solid waste processing capacity that will be required to achieve the additional solid waste diversion targets expressed in Section 41780.01.”
Athens is hearing that some waste companies are sending AB 341 notices to their customers; notifying them of a recycle container delivery and that new charges will be included on their next invoice.
Athens Services believes in working with their clients to find the best solutions for their recycling needs. As an AAGLA member, they will provide you with a free waste consultation to determine if your properties are AB 341 compliant. Any AAGLA members who subscribe to Athens Services will receive a certificate that their waste services are being taken to a mixed waste processing center and that their property is AB 341 compliant.
For a free waste consultation or if you have any questions or concerns, please contact Athens at (877) 705-9222.