A mandatory takeback program has been successfully enacted in San Luis Obispo County, California for fluorescent lights, household batteries, medical supplies and latex paint in an effort to keep these toxic and hazardous items out of landfills. The mandatory program was agreed upon after a similar program of a voluntary nature was found to be ineffective in reducing the waste disposal of these items.
The mandatory program targets retailers that sell the four targeted groups and allows consumers the ease and convenience of knowing that all stores will accept the used items for recycling. When the system was voluntary, select stores did not participate thus causing confusion about how and where goods could be recycled.
San Luis Obispo has 267,000 residents. Since starting the recycling program in 2009 the retailers have collected almost eight million medical sharps, two and a half million household batteries, one hundred thousand fluorescent lights, and over three thousand liters of latex paint. Were the recycling program not it place, this large quantity of waste would have been disposed of in the regional landfill.
The county ordinance states that if retailers sell these items, they must also offer a way to collect it for recycling. The stores then contact the county waste office for pick-up. The retailer is charged a small fee, but they are allowed to pass that cost along to consumers if they choose. However, few stores have done this as the recycling bins prompt customers to return to the store and therefore help to increase visits and sales.
WasteCare Wants You to Remember: What is your local government or business doing to help increase the waste recycling of fluorescent lights, household batteries, medical supplies and latex paint? Is there an opportunity here for you to increase sales while diverting waste from landfills?