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City of Ojai – Commercial Recycling Program to Address Climate Change

Case Story

Climate Action Connection: Commercial Recycling

Sixty percent of landfill waste is generated by businesses. Promoting commercial recycling helps keep recyclable materials out of landfills. This conserves resources, extends the life of the landfill, saves businesses money and reduces the potential generation of methane, a greenhouse gas that is released from improperly managed landfills.

Innovative solutions to recycling constraints assist businesses reduce the amount of waste going to landfills and the potential for greenhouse gas emissions.

Community:Ojai (Ventura County)

Population: 8,150


Ojai facilitates commercial recycling in a downtown redevelopment area through an assessment district that provides common area recycling services and storage bins for businesses that would otherwise lack convenient access to recycling opportunities.

Program Highlights

  • Three-block redevelopment area includes joint assessment district for maintenance, waste and recycling services.
  • Assessment district provides common area waste and recycling bins for ease of access by businesses.
  • City’s exclusive franchise waste hauler offers tiered fee structure to encourage recycling.
  • Hauler actively works with tenants to encourage recycling.

Lessons Learned

  • It’s tough to increase the rate of commercial recycling when businesses in downtown buildings don’t have convenient access to recycling facilities; innovative solutions can help increase recycling.

Resources to Learn More

The Rest of the Story…

Ojai encourages commercial recycling through a tiered solid waste and recycling fee structure used by its exclusive franchised hauler. Unfortunately, the tiered fee structure was not sufficient to motivate businesses located in downtown buildings that lacked physical access to nearby recycling facilities. Additionally, most businesses were not willing to store recyclables onsite and transport to recycling facilities that were a considerable distance from their business.

New Approach to Make Recycling More Convenient

With the redevelopment of more than two dozen properties in the three-block downtown redevelopment area, Ojai officials seized the opportunity to address the concerns of businesses that lacked convenient recycling opportunities. The redevelopment and seismic upgrade of the city-owned Arcade building and the adjacent privately owned properties provided the opportunity to design joint enclosures for waste and recycling bins. The result was an enclosed common waste and recycling area. The facilities were funded by the Redevelopment Agency in consultation with local businesses. The Assessment District funds the on-going maintenance (including recycling and trash services) of the area.

Hauler and City Actively Promote Recycling

The city and hauler actively promote recycling through tiered waste fees, visits to businesses, and regular reporting by the hauler. The city hopes that the new joint facilities and services in a significant portion of its downtown will motivate more businesses to increase recycling rates.


Compiled May 2009

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



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