The State of California enacted in 1989 a mandate that the State must divert usage of landfills by 50%. This law was enacted by the legislation in an effort to reduce the amount of solid waste generated by the citizens of the State. The purpose of this Waste Management Act was to focus on recycling by the citizens of the State. In 1990, California diverted only 10% of its waste stream, leaving the goal of 50% only a dream. Cities were required to begin intensive recycling programs or face huge monetary fines for failing to meet the State goal. Cities began to develop programs that would encourage residents to recycle.
Selma looked at the challenge and began to make recycling a focus. Citizens were given not only a brown container for waste but a blue for recycling items and a green for yard waste. The City of Selma and Waste Management partnered in order to move towards the mandated 50% reduction of waste as determined by the amount sent to the local land fills. Some residents took the challenge seriously and found the recycling was not that difficult. As the city continued to look at recycling efforts other partnerships arose.
Waste Management began a recycling program at the Schools, partnering with Selma Unified School District. In 2005-06 eleven of the schools in Selma Unified participated in the recycling partnership. Schools were given “paper only” bins to put their paper into. This program began to encourage students to recycle and at the same time generated funds to be used for site activities. Some schools had specific grade levels organize and collect the paper, others had leadership classes that provided for the collection of paper. Some of the Schools involved parents and community members in the project and had them picking up paper at Mobile Home Sites and individual residences. The program in 2005-06 School Year generated more than 50 tons of paper that did not end up in the landfill. This program will be expanded for 2006-07. It is only when a community works together that recycling works. To answer the question, Recycling Does it Work? California now diverts 52% of its solid waste yearly. Selma has helped in that effort but we need to continue to focus on recycling.
RECYCLING SHOULD BECOME A WAY OF LIFE. If you would like to know about what to do to recycle, start a recycling program at your site or need additional information, please call Waste Management at 891-7694.