We currently divert about 63% of the waste we produce, which means we need divert 12% more waste from landfills annually to achieve the goal. The campaign will zero in on different opportunities for local businesses, residents, and schools over the next 2-3 years. The campaign began with a special focus on assisting the local business community, utilizing four college interns, during the summer of 2013.
What’s a Diversion Rate?
Waste diversion is the process of reducing the amount of waste disposed of at landfills through waste prevention, recycling, reuse, and composting.
The waste diversion rate is the percentage of our total waste stream that is diverted from landfills through waste reduction, reuse and recycling efforts. It is calculated based on the total weight of waste and recyclables that are trucked out of Lafayette.
What is our Current Diversion Rate?
When RecycleLafayette.org was launched in mid-2013, the latest official recycling rate from 2011 data was a meager 58%. Since then, updated figures from 2012 have been provided, and Lafayette is now up to 63%, a 5 point increase!
How Do We Compare to Other Communities?
San Francisco has the highest waste diversion rate in the country, diverting more than 80% of its waste from landfills. This has been achieved primarily by local laws that mandate recycling and composting and that ban plastic bags and styrofoam. Alameda County has achieved a 73% waste diversion rate through outreach and education efforts of its stopwaste.org. Additionally, many Bay Area cities have passed styrofoam bans, plastic bag bags, and zero waste initiatives.
Who’s Behind the Campaign?
Recycle Lafayette is a community wide effort that is managed by the Sustainable Lafayette‘s Waste Diversion Committee. Thank you to Conflare for website development, Robert Kastigar for yet another great logo, and Edward Stephen for the diversion rate graphic concept.
Who is Involved?
The Committee is working in tandem with many partners around Lafayette including the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce, Environmental Task Force, Lafayette School District, Recycle Smart (formerly known as Central Contra Costa Solid Waste Authority), Republic Services, Lafayette Community Foundation, and others.
How is the Campaign Funded?
So far the campaign is being funded by Sustainable Lafayette and Whole Food’s Nickels for Nonprofits program. The Chamber of Commerce is also offering many services to support the campaign. If you’d like to support Recycle Lafayette, you may make a tax-deductible donation to Sustainable Lafayette.
Who Set the Goal?
In 2011, the City of Lafayette adopted the goal of reaching a 75% waste diversion rate as part of the Environmental Strategy. This is one of many goals proposed by the City’s Environmental Task Force.
California made headlines in 1989 when it passed a law that required each jurisdiction (city and county) in California to divert a minimum of 50% of its waste stream by 2000. Once that goal was achieved, some cities and counties increased their diversion goals; for example, Alameda County has targeted a 75% waste diversion rate for years. So the City of Lafayette thought that was the next logical level to shoot for. In 2012, California passed legislation requiring a 75% diversion across the state by 2020.
Why Is it Important?
Reducing waste has a myriad of benefits for our community and the environment including:
- Saves money,
- Conserves energy,
- Preserves natural resources,
- Reduces air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, and
- Creates jobs in the recycling industry.