With the passage of AB 939 in 1989, developing an integrated approach to managing solid waste became vital for all California communities. Recognizing the rapid depletion of space in the state's landfills, this legislation required all cities and counties to make every effort to reduce trash disposal by 25% by the year 1995 and by 50% by the year 2000.
To help meet these goals on a regional level and make the best use of each individual city's resources, the Mojave Desert and Mountain Solid Waste Joint Powers Authority was formed by seven high desert cities and San Bernardino County in 1991. The JPA now consists of Apple Valley, Adelanto, Barstow, Big Bear, Needles, 29 Palms, Victorville, Yucca Valley, and unincorporated areas in the high desert.
The JPA Board meetings quarterly during the year, and its Technical Advisory Committee meets monthly to discuss regional issues pertaining to waste reduction, recycling, and public education. The JPA also sponsors the annual Garden Party as an entertaining way to learn more about reducing residential organic waste. To learn more about JPA activities, call 1-800-urecycle or check out its website at www.urecycle.org.
Actual tonnage of trash disposed by each city is reported to the California Integrated Waste Management Board (CIWMB) on an annual basis. Monitored by the CIWMB, AB 939 was the most ambitious, environmentally conscious legislation passed to date in the United States. It prompted a concerted effort by Californians to "REDUCE, REUSE and RECYCLE."
In 2007, a new bill was passed that changes the way the CIWMB tracks how well cities are recycling. Now, the success of recycling in a city is measured on an individual basis. At the end of each year, the amount of waste discarded in the landfill from each city is divided by the number of city residents to determine, on average, how much was discarded by each individual. For Apple Valley, the state requires that each Apple Valley resident discard less than 6½ pounds of waste per day!
It is also likely that the passage of AB 32, California's Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, is going to have additional impacts on how residents may dispose of materials and how waste is handled in the state. Stay tuned!!
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