CIWMB 2001 Strategic Plan
Integrated Waste Management Board Strategic Plan, November 2001
Note: This plan has been superseded. Please see the Strategic Planning home page for information on the current plan.
Table of Contents
California’s 11-year experiment in waste stream diversion has been, by nearly all accounts, a resounding success. Over 180 million tons of materials have been diverted from landfills over this period. Local jurisdictions have met, or are well on the way to achieving, the Legislature’s goal of cutting waste entering landfills in half. As we near and cross the “goal line,” we must ask, “What next?” Or, in response to the changing waste stream that has evolved from the tremendous diversion efforts of local jurisdictions, “What’s left?”
Clearly, the Board’s work is not done. An estimated 38 million tons of California-generated waste are still being disposed annually, only six percent of which is being converted into energy. Local jurisdictions-urban and rural-continue to seek State support in developing reliable, long-term markets for diverted materials. And many cities and counties will need extra time and help to achieve the 50 percent diversion goal.
Looking ahead, the Board is committed to the principles of sustainability—meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs; product stewardship—ensuring that all parties involved in producing, selling, or using a product take responsibility for the full environmental and economic impacts of that product; and zero waste—striving towards maximum waste reduction through the most efficient use of natural resources and materials and maximizing recycling. It is important that the Board’s future efforts focus on the changing waste stream, where food wastes and electronic wastes (e-waste) are more prevalent today than they were yesterday and new challenges are emerging as a consequence of population growth, new technologies, and changes in consumer preferences.
Changing how we think about waste-an inefficiently used resource-alters our perception about how to handle it. For example, burying nearly 40 million tons of trash in landfills annually squanders a renewable energy resource. Using new and clean technology to convert the material directly into green fuel or gas to produce electricity or actively managing its decomposition to increase gas production for electrical generation can harness the energy potential in “waste.” Such harnessing of energy can and should be done to more efficiently utilize materials that have no other economic value. This should be done without impacting current recycling or composting infrastructures.
A strategic plan is only as good as its results. Judging by California’s materials diversion record over the past three years, the California Integrated Waste Management Board’s 1997 Strategic Plan was on target. That plan prioritized the Board’s resources and actions to help cities and counties meet the 50 percent diversion goal the Integrated Waste Management Act set for 2000. Coupled with the continued efforts of local jurisdictions, the Board’s efforts helped produce a 65 percent jump in diversion from 1997 to 2000. Calculations based on California’s disposal reporting system found an estimated 28 million tons diverted in 2000, boosting California’s statewide diversion rate to 42 percent.
This 2001 Strategic Plan serves as a road map to the future that will guide our efforts in setting and achieving yet higher standards. Input from stakeholders representing various groups and interests-both internal and external-contributed to the focus and strategic direction of this plan. We will continue to draw on the many talents and dedication of our staff to translate into action the critical issues identified in this document.
Key themes in this 2001 Strategic Plan are sustainability, product stewardship, energy recovery, environmental justice, and safe disposal of waste. As we look ahead, we must focus on changing not only our actions, but also our very understanding about resources. Waste is a resource that Californians are using inefficiently. As natural resource stewards, our aim is toward a zero-waste philosophy which focuses on the most efficient use of our natural resources in order to reduce waste and protect the environment. The Board is committed to working in partnership with local government, private businesses, and product manufacturers to develop a future modeled on resource stewardship and waste minimization.
It used to be that what you threw in the garbage was no one’s business but your own. Not anymore. California’s waste management infrastructure was retooled in response to the State’s 1989 Integrated Waste Management Act, which challenged each city and county to divert from landfill disposal one-quarter of the waste generated within its jurisdiction by 1995, and one-half by the year 2000.
We have responded by increasing the diversion of materials out of the waste stream and away from landfills, from an estimated five million tons in 1989 to more than 28 million tons in 2001, more than 200 million tons in all. Statewide, we reached a diversion level of 42 percent last year, a remarkable achievement in the face of the state’s sagging economy and rising population. We have started our review of diversion measurements taken by local governments to see if they’ve reached the 50 percent diversion mark the Legislature set for 2000. We expect that as many as half of the state’s 535 cities and counties will meet that goal.
California has an economy larger than most countries in the world, and the amount of garbage buried in our landfills puts us near the top of that list as well. When it comes to finding alternatives to landfill disposal, we must be uniquely progressive as we continue to promote California’s waste reduction hierarchy—Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Buy Recycled.
In looking to the next ten years, this strategic plan provides a blueprint upon which to refocus our vision for the future. It looks at critical strategies that will guide the Board in its decision-making to meet the demands of the 21st century.
I would like to thank everyone involved—internal and external—who helped in developing this plan. This is a living document which we will use daily as we chart our future.
Archived CIWMB Strategic Plans http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/Archive/IWMBPlans/
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