California is a model state when it comes to waste reduction, aiming to reduce waste going into landfills by 75 percent by 2020. Textiles are a big part of that waste, with more than 880,000 tons sent to California landfills in 2008. Currently all textile-recycling efforts nationwide collect only 15 percent of the total textiles being trashed annually.
But there is a new obstacle for California's efforts to reduce waste and it's sitting on Governor Jerry Brown's desk as I type. Governor Brown has been a great advocate for the environment, as evidenced by the new website he launched to highlight climate change and battle against climate change deniers.
But the bill on his desk, AB 1978, is no friend of the environment, and here's why. It will impose onerous limitations on the placement of collection bins that are important for keeping textiles, clothes and shoes (and many other things, such as books and household items) in the use cycle and out of landfills.
As a market leader in the textile collection industry, USAgain has been an advocate for regulation of un-permitted bins for many years. Unfortunately, however, AB 1978 is a flawed bill that will have a negative impact on a wide range of businesses, charities and their beneficiaries across this state.
In addition to excessive permissions it also limits the liability of towing companies that remove bins -- even bins placed with proper permissions. This means that anyone could tow away a collection bin at any point with little recourse for the owner.
This legislation would make it much harder for organizations like D.A.R.E., which gives kids the skills they need to avoid involvement in drugs, gangs, and violence, to place bins across the state. Many nonprofits rely on funds generated by their collection bins to fund programs that benefit the community. Additionally, the bins provide a convenient and eco-friendly way for people to rid themselves of unwanted clothes, shoes, books, home electronics and much more. The bins keep these items in the use cycle and out of California landfills.
We're joining the California Resource Recovery Association, the Northern California Recycling Association, The Police Chiefs Association, D.A.R.E., other nonprofits and local businesses in opposing AB 1978.
If you agree, and want to support California's green businesses, charities and nonprofits, visit Change.org to sign the petition asking Governor Brown to veto the bill.
Follow Mattias Wallander on Twitter: www.twitter.com/MattiasWall