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City of Irvine – Commercial Recycling Program to Address Climate Change

Case Story

Climate Action Connection: Commercial Recycling

A tiered franchise fee structure encourages haulers to actively promote commercial recycling, thus increasing recycling and reducing waste going to landfill.

Community:Irvine (Orange County)

Population: 209,000


Irvine encourages commercial recycling by charging haulers a reduced franchise fee for recyclable materials collected from businesses, compared to the franchise fee charged for solid waste collected.

Program Highlights

  • Twenty-three haulers with non-exclusive franchises cover two of Irvine’s largest commercial centers.
  • Tiered franchise fee system encourages haulers to promote recycling by business customers.
  • City conducts onsite waste audits of largest waste generators.

Lessons Learned

  • Be sure businesses are aware that recycling services are available from haulers.
  • Commercial recycling can be increased by actively educating businesses about the availability of recycling services.

Resources to Learn More

The Rest of the Story…

Irvine has promoted commercial recycling through an incentive fee structure in its hauler agreements since 1999. The city has non-exclusive franchise agreements with 23 haulers for solid waste collection in its two largest commercial centers, where the majority of the city’s commercial waste generators are located.

Tiered Franchise Fees Encourage More Recycling

In 2007, the city amended the hauler franchise agreements to increase recycling. Haulers must offer recycling services to both new and old businesses regardless of business size and type.

The new franchise agreements with haulers encourage recycling by charging:

  • a 10 percent fee on gross receipts from collection of waste sent to landfills,
  • a four percent fee for materials delivered to material recovery facility, and
  • no fee for materials sent directly to end-use recyclers, such as metal recyclers, paper processors, and composting facilities.

Rates charged to customers for solid waste and recycling services are set by the individual haulers.

Enforcement and Monitoring

Haulers must provide quarterly tonnage and franchise fee reports to verify compliance with city’s franchise agreements. County landfill reports are also monitored. Waste stream audits of business are a further indication of the effectiveness of the recycling program. Over the last four years, Irvine has conducted onsite waste audits of its largest waste generators. Audits of smaller waste generators are provided on request.

Compiled May 2009

This case story was prepared in partnership with the California Integrated Waste Management Board.


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