America Recycles Day emphasizes the economic benefits of recycling

Tuesday is America Recycles Day, although three Ventura County companies will participate the following week when they receive ceremonial checks from a low-interest loan program that encourages recycling activities.

America Recycles Day, which takes place on November 15 each year, is coordinated by Keep America Beautiful, a non-profit organization supported primarily by large corporations and public entities. Over the past year, the nonprofit organization helped sponsor nearly 3,000 related events across all 50 states.

On Mondays and Tuesdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Ventura County General Services Agency celebrates America Recycles Day with an e-waste collection event at the Government Center Service Building, 800 S. Victoria Ave. in Ventura. DVDs and CDs are also accepted as donations to a county library. At the agency’s April event to commemorate Earth Day, 18 pallets full of e-waste were collected, equivalent to approximately 11,200 pounds of material.

Certainly, community expectations are a factor that motivates recycling. When all of your neighbors are lining up their carefully prepared recycling and organic carts, when everyone is using the correct bins for recycling at work, and when all of your fellow guests at social gatherings are following sorting instructions, then it can feel awkward when you don’t publicly recycle evade civic responsibility.

But how do we reach people who do not respond to such appeals? Indeed, how do we reach people who are generally fed up with environmental messages?

Venancio Anastacio works on pallets at Oxnard Pallet Co. The company is one of three local businesses receiving a soft loan through a district program that encourages recycling and reuse.

The US Environmental Protection Agency’s America Recycles Day website has a good answer. The site emphasizes that recycling not only helps protect our environment, but also contributes to “American prosperity.” He highlights a 2016 EPA study that found recycling and reuse activities in the US accounted for 681,000 jobs and $37.8 billion in wages in one year.

On November 21, Ventura County memorial organizers are emphasizing the economic benefits of recycling by focusing on three companies that recently received 4% fixed rate loans under the county’s Recycling Market Development Zone program. The program is coordinated by the District Office for Public Works.

The soft loans are from government funds derived from landfill fee surcharges collected by CalRecycle, short for the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery.

All of Ventura County is in the Recycling Market Development Zone, which entitles all local businesses to incentives to make products from waste. There are about 40 state designated zones in California. In addition to funding, zone officials assist companies with permitting, site selection, sourcing of materials for manufacturing, and more.

Sheets of recycled PET plastic at Pinnpack's Oxnard facility are ready to be formed into clamshell style food containers.  The company is one of three local businesses receiving a low-interest loan through a county recycling program.

The public is invited to attend the check collection for the loans on November 21 at three locations:

• At 8:30 am, a ceremonial check for $1.2 million will be presented at the County Government Center to Arturo Gonzalez, owner of Progressive Environmental Industries. Gonzalez operates a mulch business in Santa Barbara and expects to soon complete approval 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 am Supervisor Vianey Lopez will visit Oxnard Pallet Co. at 4524 E. Pleasant Valley Road. She will then join a CalRecycle employee to present company owner Beatrice Vasquez with a check for $535,000. The loan will help the company dismantle and repair more out-of-spec and broken used pallets, turning the legacy assets into valuable standard four-way pallets.

• At 11:45 am, Lopez will view product samples at Pinnpack, a company that makes recyclable plastic food packaging at 1151 Pacific Ave. manufactured in Oxnard. Lopez will join CalRecycle to present CEO Ira Maroofian with a check for $11 million. The amount is the largest loan in the 30-year nationwide history of the market development program. The funds will upgrade equipment and expand recycling capacity at the large facility, 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, while also producing valuable products needed by individuals and other businesses.

David Goldstein, Environmental Resource Analyst with the Ventura County Public Works Agency, can be reached at 805-658-4312 or [email protected]

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