City of Fresno – Commercial Recycling Program to Address Climate Change
Climate Action Connection: Commercial Recycling
Mandatory recycling, combined with tiered rate structure, results in increased recycling by the commercial sector, thus reducing potential greenhouse gas emissions from landfills.
Community:Fresno (Fresno County)
Fresno’s mandatory commercial recycling ordinance requires all retail, office and multi-family businesses to utilize the city’s recycling services.
- All businesses are required to use the solid waste and recycling services provided directly by the city.
- Tiered pricing, which makes recycling less expensive, is an incentive for businesses to recycle.
- City actively educates businesses about recycling service and importance.
- Businesses recycle more if the program is mandatory, as opposed to voluntary.
- A tiered rate structure with lower costs for recycling services significantly increases recycling by businesses.
Resources to Learn More
- Fresno Mandatory Recycling Ordinance (available at right under “Documents and Resources.”
- Zero Waste Action Plan
The Rest of the Story…
Although Fresno offered voluntary recycling services to commercial customers in 2000, most were not taking advantage of the opportunity to recycle. Thus, the city re-evaluated its commercial recycling program.
Mandatory Program Increased Recycling
The goal of Fresno’s new commercial recycling ordinance adopted in 2005 was to increase the city’s overall diversion rate by increasing the amount of recycling by the 6,000 businesses (including multi-family complexes) in the city. When commercial recycling became mandatory, the citywide recycling rate increased dramatically.
Prior to enacting the mandatory commercial ordinance, Fresno’s citywide diversion rate for residential and commercial users was 32 percent; after the mandatory commercial recycling ordinance was adopted, the diversion rate climbed to 62 percent. City officials attribute the increase in the diversion rate largely to the increase in recycling in the commercial sector, which includes retail, office, and multi-family generators.
City’s Tiered Commercial Rate Structure
Fresno provides trash, green waste and recycling services itself
and actively educates businesses about recycling opportunities
and potential cost savings. Different container sizes are
available for commercial recycling, and business may have daily
pickup if desired. The city has a two-tiered rate for disposal
and recyclable pickup. As of July 2008, the cost of a 4-cubic
yard container for weekly solid waste pick up is $1,258, while
the cost of the equivalent size container and service for
recycling is $344 per week. The price differential is considered
the biggest incentive for businesses to recycle.
Compiled May 2009
This case story was prepared in partnership with the California
Integrated Waste Management Board.