Calif. Gives Apartment Renters 'Right to Recycle'


This week, California’s governor signed legislation requiring the state’s apartment owners to provide recycling services to their tenants starting Jan. 1, 2012. Photo: Creative Commons, by Los Angeles

Recycling just got easier for the 7 million Californians living in apartment buildings.

This week, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law the Renter’s Right to Recycle Act, which requires owners of multifamily housing with five or more units to provide paper, plastic and can and bottle recycling programs to their tenants starting next year.

“We have finally overcome a great inequity,” said the bill’s author Assembly member Bob Blumenfield (D-San Fernando Valley) in a statement.  “Renters want and deserve the same opportunities to recycle as everyone else. Before this bill, many renters could recycle only by hauling their waste across town to a recycling center. Green living is the future, and nothing is more basic than being able to recycle where you live.”

The new law is similar to three bills passed in the Assembly in the last few years – all of which were vetoed by former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

According to the legislation, less than 40 percent of Californians living in multifamily dwellings have access to residential recycling, while 70 percent of the state’s residents living in single-family homes have access to recycling services. Of the waste generated at apartments, only 15 percent is recycled, compared to rates above 50 percent for single-family homes statewide.


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