Stockton, CA- The City of Stockton was home to the 8th annual REXPO, whose theme this year was “Unplugged,” on March 14, 2012 between the hours of 7:00 AM until 2:00 PM at the Hilton Hotel. The event was hosted by Green Team of San Joaquin, a program of the Stockton Chamber of Commerce.
The event included two panel discussions, one with a focus on increasing local recycling and the other balancing the economy and environment. A luncheon followed with Matt Rodriquez’s keynote speech — Rodriguez is the California Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Secretary.
Rodriquez’s job responsibilities include coordinating many of the state’s environmental departments, including Air Resources Board, State Water Resources Control Board, Regional Water Quality Control, Department of Toxic Waste Control, Department of Pesticide Regulation, Environmental Health Hazards Assessments and his duties may expand to include CalRecycle in the near future.
“Since 2005, green job growth—including recycling sector—in California has grown by 10% as compared to a statewide job growth of 1%. So, you [the audience members] are all proof that we can reinvigorate our economy by investing in supporting in local green business,” said Rodriquez to a crowd that included many green business sector owners and managers.
Rodriguez called for support from legislators to implement and reinforce laws, noting, “we need to apply laws that will enhance both economic and environmental conditions.”
Rodriquez mentioned that, “This governor [Gov. Jerry Brown] has a long interest in energy efficiency, interest in addressing climate change and working toward cleaner air in this state, water quality, robust agricultural economy while considering the health effects of pesticides and fumigants. On that list is also recycling: in fact the governor just signed Assembly Bill (AB) 341 that has a goal of 75% of recycling in the State.”
AB 341 was recently approved and sets a statewide goal that no less than 75% of solid waste generated be source reduced, recycled, or composted by the year 2020. The bill expands on the California Integrated Waste Management Act of 1989 that required each city, county and regional agency to develop a source reduction and reduction component for recycling, and composting to divert 50% of all solid waste from landfill.
The bill includes any “commercial or public entity that generates more than 4 cubic yards of commercial solid waste per week or is a multifamily residential dwelling of 5 units or more to arrange for recycling services, on and after July 1, 2012.”
Rodriquez explained that, “2/3rds of California’s waste is in the business sector. For example, while California diverts 58% of its waste, large business offices only divert 7%.”
However, “Only 5-20% recycled materials stay in the state, the majority are shipped to other states or China. Going along with the [exported] waste are jobs, commerce and tax revenue. We are looking at ways we can address that. “
Currently there are programs, such as the CalRecycle program Recycling Market Development Zones (RMDZ), that implement business loans, free marketing, a more streamlined permit process, reduced taxes and other incentives for green business. This program, established in 1993, has created 7,400 jobs.Concluding that, “If we do more recycling, it will create more jobs,”For more information about RMDZ and information about AB 341 contact (916) 341-6227 or e-mail Loans@calrecycle.ca.gov; or, visit