Jul 27, 2023
“How is recycling really going?” Versions of that question come to me by phone and email every week. Scott Meckstroth, a professional engineer and deputy director of Ventura County’s Water and
“How is recycling really going?” Versions of that question come to me by phone and email every week.
Scott Meckstroth, a professional engineer and deputy director of Ventura County’s Water and Sanitation Department, explained the reason for his and others' challenging questions about the intentions and results of recycling programs: “We owe it to society to question and confirm the efficacy of the status quo,” he told me by email.
In particular, many people want to know what is happening with the relatively new food waste recycling programs. Public sector recycling coordinators and their contractors, such as trash and recycling collection companies, request compliance with curbside and commercial refuse separation rules. People often respond to requests for compliance with new programs by checking to see if others are also complying, according to Kendra Cherry, a psychology educator and author of "The Everything Psychology Book." Cherry wrote, in an article published last year on the VeryWellMind website, “Compliance, (defined as) changing one's behavior at the request or direction of another person... (depends on) several essential factors.”
Three of the factors are affinity, group influence and group size. In checking to see how many others in their city or county are recycling, some people may be gauging how much of an obligation to participate they should feel.
To provide clear answers about implementation of recycling programs, on Aug. 1, every city and county in California was required by state law to submit an annual report to CalRecycle, the state agency that oversees recycling. Writers of these reports, including me, were diligent about reporting accurately, because these reports will be scrutinized, investigated, audited and questioned by CalReycle’s new Jurisdiction and Agency Compliance and Enforcement Branch.
Highlights from reports across the county:
If you want to find out how your city or county is implementing and promoting plans to meet waste reduction mandates, ask your local recycling coordinator for more updates included in your city’s annual report to CalRecycle.
You can find more information at calrecycle.ca.gov/lgcentral/AnnualReport.
David Goldstein, an environmental resource analyst with the Ventura County Public Works Agency, can be reached at 805-658-4312 or [email protected].