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Beyond 75% Diversion: A Vision for Landfill Obsolescence

The Alameda County Waste Reduction and Recycling Initiative (“Measure D”) was approved by the voters
of Alameda County in November 1989. It established the Alameda County Source Reduction and Recycling Board (“Recycling Board”) and mandated that the Recycling Board create and periodically update a plan for a comprehensive source reduction and recycling program.

Furthermore, Measure D requires that the Recycling Board:

“[E}stablish, not later than January 1, 1999, a date to reduce, recycle, and compost at least seventy-five percent (75%), by weight, of all discarded materials generated within Alameda County, and, as necessary to the establishment of sustainable discarded materials management practices, shall subsequently establish a date (or dates) to reduce, recycle,and compost further quantities of discarded materials.”

In 2010, the Recycling Board targeted the end of calendar year 2020 for achievement of the 75% goal. As discussed in Section 2: 2020 Context, progress toward the 75% goal has plateaued over the last 10 years, demonstrating that the approach of relying primarily on collection and processing isn’t enough to meet the 75% target. Therefore, this Plan sets a new goal for landfill obsolescence by the year 2045. While more ambitious than the 75% goal, this goal embodies the potential of fundamental, systemic changes to the production, consumption, and disposal that move Alameda County toward a more circular economy. To reflect this change in focus, this Plan is titled “Beyond 75% Diversion: A Vision for Landfill Obsolescence.”

Measure D requires that this Plan provide for the following essential elements (see Section 4: Plan Activities for more detail on each element):

  1. An Alameda Countywide Source Reduction Program to minimize the generation of refuse;

  2. Residential Recycling Programs to provide each Alameda County residence with curbside pick-up of recyclable materials;

  3. Commercial Recycling Programs to reduce the refuse disposal costs of businesses and government agencies;

  4. An Alameda Countywide Recycled Product Market Development Program to create and strengthen stable markets for recycled materials; and

  5. A Recycled Product Purchase Preference Program to further encourage recycled materials markets by maximizing the amount of recycled products purchased by county government agencies.

The Plan incorporates all Alameda County recycling programs, whether funded by Measure D or not.


Relationship to the Alameda County Integrated Waste Management Plan

Measure D states that this Plan shall align with the requirements of the Integrated Waste Management Act of 1989 (AB 939), the state statute that (among other provisions) requires a Countywide Integrated Waste Management Plan (CoIWMP). The Alameda County Waste Management Authority (WMA) adopted an updated Countywide Element to the CoIWMP in April 2020.

The Countywide Element is the primary tool to design programs that are countywide in scope, and that complement and support Alameda County jurisdictions’ individual programs. In conformance with state requirements, the Recycling Board acted as the Local Task Force during adoption.

While creating and updating this Plan is the legal obligation of the Recycling Board as a distinct entity, it is designed to be complementary to and consistent with the CoIWMP. This reflects the administration of the Recycling Board and the WMA as one agency (StopWaste), which jointly implements programs that fulfill the aims and requirements of each Board. Where applicable, this Plan references the Countywide Element directly, both to provide further detail and to avoid duplication between that document and this Plan.