Assembly Bill 341, which the California Legislature passed and Gov. Jerry Brown signed in October 2011, requires any business, multifamily residential dwelling of five or more units, industrial facility, and school or special district that generates more than four cubic yards of solid waste per week to recycle. Although the law’s regulations and requirements took effect on July 1, 2012, the practical mechanics of implementation and enforcement remain unclear or as yet unspecified.

The law leaves specifics of implementation and enforcement to covered jurisdictions, in the case of the Hill, to the county. The law makes a “legislative declaration” regarding the state’s goals to require these local jurisdictions “to develop an integrated waste management plan … including source reduction, recycling and composting components.” The state Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery is required to track jurisdictions’ compliance and provide annual documentation to the Legislature.

Nearly two weeks after the implementation date, neither Riverside County’s Waste Management Department nor Waste Management Inc., the designated trash hauler and transfer station operator in the Idyllwild area, have implementation plans in place, according to Janet Moreland, recycling specialist, county waste management and Eloisa Orozco, Waste Management, Inc. area communications manager.

Moreland said the county would authorize free disposal of commercial recyclables but cannot provide bins for separating recycled materials nor transport them to county transfer stations. “Our department is not in charge of hauling,” said Moreland, referring questions to contractor Waste Management.

“Within the next 30 days, customers will be receiving a letter about the law with information about their options to establish their recycling program. In the meantime, we encourage customers to continue their recycling efforts … and take their recyclables to our drop-off centers located in Idyllwild, Pinyon and Anza at no cost to them,” Orozco said.

No county enforcement provisions or penalties for noncompliance are yet in place, according to Moreland. On Friday, July 6, county Waste Management Department suggested on its website that affected businesses should “take at least one of the following actions in order to reuse, recycle, compost or otherwise divert commercial solid waste from disposal: source separate recyclable and/or compostable material from solid waste and donate or self-haul the material to recycling facilities; subscribe to a recycling service with your waste hauler; property owners of commercial or multi-family complexes are required to provide recycling service to their tenants; [and] each business shall be responsible for ensuring and demonstrating its compliance with the requirements of [AB 341].”

What the law requires for each jurisdiction, on or after July 1, 2012, is: “to implement an education, outreach and monitoring program [and] efforts may be phased in over time”; for covered businesses and multifamily dwellings of five or more units to recycle as of July 1; by August 2013, each jurisdiction shall report to the state its progress in achieving the Legislature’s goals and “enforcement efforts and exemptions, if applicable”; and by August 2014 the state will conduct its first review of all jurisdictions’ compliance efforts.

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