November 17, 2022
“Dance like no one is watching,” wrote Susanna Clark and Richard Leigh in 1987.
Now, “Recycle like everyone is watching” is one of the slogans Keep America Beautiful uses to promote America Recycles Day, which was on Nov. 15.
Keep America Beautiful, a nonprofit organization supported mainly by major corporations and public agencies, in 2009 took over national coordination of the celebration, also called National Recycling Day, from the National Recycling Coalition, and helped to promote nearly 3,000 related events in all 50 states last year.
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 (www.epa.gov/recyclingstrategy/america-recycles-day ) has a good answer. The site emphasizes that recycling contributes not just to “protection of our environment,” but also to “American prosperity.” The site highlights an EPA study showing “recycling and reuse activities in the United States accounted for 681,000 jobs and $37.8 billion in wages.”
On Nov. 21, organizers of Ventura County’s America Recycles Day commemoration are emphasizing this economic benefit of recycling by focusing on three companies recently approved for low-interest loans through the Ventura County Recycling Market Development Zone program coordinated by the Ventura County Public Works Agency. Low-interest (4% fixed rate) loans for this program come from state funds, derived from landfill tip fee surcharges collected by the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle). 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 approximately 40 state-designated zones in California. In addition to financing, zone staff assist businesses with permitting, site selection, obtaining material for manufacturing, and other financing.
The public is invited to attend check presentations to these companies at three locations on Monday, Nov. 21.
First, at 8:30 a.m., at the Ventura County Government Center, District 1 Supervisor Matt LaVere will join a CalRecycle representative, Loan Officer Bruce Quigley, for a presentation of a mock check, representing a $1,204,000 loan, to Progressive Environmental Industries owner Arturo Gonzalez. Gonzalez operates a mulching business in Santa Barbara and expects to complete permitting soon to reopen a second location, Ojai Valley Organics.
Second, at 10 a.m., Ventura County District 5 Supervisor Vianey Lopez will tour Oxnard Pallet Company, at 4524 East Pleasant Valley Road, before joining the CalRecycle officer in presenting a mock check representing a $535,000 loan to the company’s owner, Beatrice Vasquez. The loan will help Oxnard Pallet Company disassemble and repair more off-spec and broken used pallets, turning these castoffs into valuable, standard 48 in. x 40 in. four-way pallets.
Finally, at 11:45 a.m., Supervisor Vianey Lopez will view product samples at Pinnpack Plastic Packaging and join CalRecycle in presenting a mock check for $11 million, the largest loan in the 30-year statewide history of the market development program, to CEO Ira Maroofian. Pinnpack, at 1151 Pacific Avenue in Oxnard, will not only use more recycled plastic to make its packaging, but will also enter the “circular economy,” making its own packaging and other non-bottle PET plastic recyclable.
Together, these companies employ over 250 people and also contribute to the local economy through property tax, sales tax, donations, and purchases from suppliers, all while creating valuable products needed by individuals and other businesses.
More on America Recycles Day and the companies mentioned here:
David Goldstein administers the Ventura County Recycling Market Development Zone for the Public Works Agency and can be reached at 805-658-4312 or firstname.lastname@example.org.