Tuesday is America Recycles Day, although three Ventura County businesses will take part the following week when receiving ceremonial checks from a low-interest loan program that promotes recycling activities.
America Recycles Day, held on Nov. 15 each year, is coordinated by Keep America Beautiful, a nonprofit supported mainly by major corporations and public agencies. Last year, the nonprofit helped promote nearly 3,000 related events in all 50 states.
On Monday and Tuesday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Ventura County General Services Agency is commemorating America Recycles Day with an electronic waste collection event at the service building of the Government Center, 800 S. Victoria Ave. in Ventura. DVDs and CDs will also be accepted for donation to a county library. The agency’s April event, commemorating Earth Day, collected 18 pallets full of electronic waste, equivalent to about 11,200 pounds of material.
Certainly, community expectations are one factor motivating recycling. If all of your neighbors set out their diligently prepared recycling and organics carts, and if everyone uses the right containers for recycling at work, and if all your fellow guests at social gatherings follow sorting directions, then publicly failing to recycle might feel like an embarrassing shirk of civic responsibility.
But how do we reach people who do not respond to such appeals? Indeed, how do we reach people who are tired of environmental messaging in general?
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s America Recycles Day website has a good answer. The site emphasizes that recycling contributes not only to the protection of our environment but also to “American prosperity.” It highlights a 2016 EPA study that found recycling and reuse activities in the U.S. accounted for 681,000 jobs and $37.8 billion in wages in a year.
On Nov. 21, organizers of Ventura County’s commemoration are emphasizing the economic benefit of recycling by focusing on three companies recently approved for 4% fixed-rate loans through the county’s Recycling Market Development Zone program. The program is coordinated by the county Public Works Agency.
The low-interest loans come from state funds derived from landfill tip fee surcharges collected by CalRecycle, the short name for the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery.
All of Ventura County is in the recycling market development zone, making all local businesses eligible for incentives to make products from discards. There are about 40 state-designated zones in California. In addition to financing, zone staff assist businesses with permitting, site selection, obtaining material for manufacturing and more.
The public is invited to attend check presentations for the loans at three locations on Nov. 21:
• At 8:30 a.m. at the county government center, a $1.2 million ceremonial check will be given to Arturo Gonzalez, owner of Progressive Environmental Industries. Gonzalez operates a mulching business in Santa Barbara and expects to complete permitting soon to reopen a second location, Ojai Valley Organics. County Supervisor Matt LaVere and a CalRecycle representative, loan officer Bruce Quigley, will present the check.
• At 10 a.m., Supervisor Vianey Lopez will tour Oxnard Pallet Co. at 4524 E. Pleasant Valley Road. She’ll then join a CalRecycle officer to present a check for $535,000 to company owner Beatrice Vasquez. The loan will help the company disassemble and repair more off-spec and broken used pallets, turning the castoffs into valuable, standard four-way pallets.
• At 11:45 a.m., Lopez will view product samples at Pinnpack, which manufactures recyclable plastic food packaging at 1151 Pacific Ave. in Oxnard. Lopez will join CalRecycle to present a check for $11 million to CEO Ira Maroofian. The amount is the largest loan in the 30-year statewide history of the market development program. The funds will modernize equipment and expand recycling capacity at the large plant, which uses recycled plastic as part of its raw materials.
Together, the three companies employ over 250 people and also contribute to the local economy through property taxes, sales taxes, donations and purchases from suppliers, all while creating valuable products needed by individuals and other businesses.
David Goldstein, an environmental resource analyst with the Ventura County Public Works Agency, can be reached at 805-658-4312 or email@example.com.