News Release

Office of Public Affairs

For Immediate Release: January 27, 2014
Release #2014-02
For more information contact:
Media Contact: | Heather Jones

SACRAMENTO–The Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) hopes to add up to 10 new zones to its Recycling Market Development Zone program to expand local recycling markets and create new jobs.

Recycling Market Development Zones, or RMDZs, are designated areas in which local jurisdictions and CalRecycle work together to support and promote recycling-based manufacturers. The goal of the program is to expand local and regional markets for recyclable materials. This, in turn, can create jobs, divert recyclable material from landfills, lower greenhouse gas emissions, increase energy savings, and reduce air and water pollution.

“Our RMDZ program helps recycling businesses get a footing in their community so they can be successful,” CalRecycle Director Caroll Mortensen said. “There are many advantages to having recycling businesses in a community–they provide new jobs, they’re good for the local economy, and they’re crucial to protecting our environment.”

There are currently 36 RMDZs in California, including two new ones–Yolo County and the city of Hawthorne in Los Angeles County–that were added late last year. The program provides low-interest loans, technical assistance, and product marketing to zone-based businesses that use recycled materials to manufacture their products. The local jurisdiction benefits from increased revenues brought by new and expanding businesses and the jobs they create, and from decreased costs of sending materials to landfills.

In order for the state to reach its 75 percent recycling goal by 2020, CalRecycle estimates California will need to move about 23 million more tons of recyclables from the disposal path to the recycling path each year. By supporting and increasing the state’s recycling manufacturing infrastructure, the RMDZ program is an important component for reaching that goal.

To become an RMDZ, local jurisdictions must commit to providing resources and business incentives to complement those offered by CalRecycle. Local RMDZ programs are implemented by Zone Administrators, who typically come from local public works departments or economic development offices. Local government incentives may include special variances in building codes and zoning laws; streamlined local permit processes; reduced taxes and licensing fees; and help finding consistent secondary feed stock supply.

Applicants will be scored and ranked by a list of criteria and must include such information as:

  • A description of how landfill capacity will be extended and how new regional markets will be developed and stimulated.
  • A description of how the jurisdiction has been working with local businesses to build a strong recycling infrastructure.
  • Defining reasonable goals, which include metrics on how many businesses will be contacted, how much landfill disposal will be reduced, how greenhouse gases will be reduced, and how many jobs will be created.
  • A plan to assess local business circumstances and how local manufacturers and new businesses can become part of the recycling infrastructure.

The application process will run from April 1 to October 30, 2014, and applicants will need to complete a California Environmental Quality Act review. Interested jurisdictions can call Mitch Delmage at (916) 341-6268 or email for a complete list of scoring criteria and an application. For more information about the RMDZ program, visit CalRecycle’s RMDZ and business assistance Web pages.

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CalRecycle provides oversight of California solid waste handling and recycling programs to protect human health, develop sustainable solutions that conserve resources, and reduce greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.