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Commercial Recycling Education and Outreach Activities – Focus on City of Kingsburg

Case Story

Community: Kingsburg (Fresno County)

Population: 11,250


Kingsburg works closely with its solid waste and recycling service provider that has an exclusive franchise to serve Kingsburg to educate businesses about how to comply with the city’s mandatory commercial recycling requirements.

Program Highlights

  • Kingsburg requires its solid waste and recycling service provider to conduct regular waste audits for commercial customers and provide monthly reports to the city on recycling tonnages to identify businesses that could improve recycling compliance and performance.
  • Outreach to businesses is handled one-on-one between hauler and business owner using a friendly approach rather than a punitive one.
  • The solid waste and recycling service provider encourages those businesses not in compliance with the city’s mandatory recycling ordinance to reduce their solid waste collection costs by recycling more. This results in the need for smaller waste collection containers, thus saving the business money, since recycling collection service is less expensive than garbage collection service.

Lessons Learned

  • Using a direct, in-person approach to encourage recycling is more effective than mailing a brochure or flyer or issuing a citation for non- or under-compliance.
  • When approaching businesses, be as friendly as possible rather than heavy-handed.
  • Businesses, especially those that are part of large chains, are responsive to the opportunity to save money and help the environment.
  • For non-English speaking business owners, using someone who speaks the same language and is knowledgeable about the city’s recycling requirements is more likely to stimulate recycling and meeting the city’s recycling requirements.

Resources to Learn More

The Rest of the Story…

Although Kingsburg is a small city, it has approximately 100 businesses, including several large chain retailers, that generate substantial waste. An active education and waste audit program by the city’s exclusive waste hauler, along with monitoring by the city of the hauler, produced a nearly 70 percent reduction in waste disposal citywide. Businesses can reduce waste collection costs by increased use of recycling bins. This results in the need for smaller waste collection containers, thus saving the businesses money, since recycling collection service is less expensive than garbage collection service.

The city’s solid waste and recycling service provider informs any new business about the city’s recycling requirement at the time the waste collection account is opened. The city requires the hauler to provide businesses and apartment complexes with recycling and green waste containers. The hauler offers waste audits to a business when either the hauler or someone from the city notices it could improve its recycling rate or when a business requests an audit.
In addition, the hauler or city staff may approach a business to encourage the business to comply with the city’s ordinance or improve its recycling activities. This includes offering the business a waste audit, which not only identifies how recycling can be increased, but also looks at the unique materials thrown away that might otherwise be recycled to the financial advantage of the business. For example, a local tool and dye manufacturer learned that the metal it was tossing out could be recycled in return for cash.

Kingsburg began working with the local Conservation Corps to provide recycling services at local high school athletic events and at six big festivals held in the city each year. The Conservation Corps not only provides recycling bins and removes them, but educates the public during the event on what to place in the recycling containers.

Compiled March 2011

This story was prepared in partnership with the California Department of Resources, Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle).

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