Cultural & ethnic diversity may be key to waste diversion

Here is an interesting item from the California Integrated Waste Management Board, addressing the issues of cultural diversity and resource recovery, sometimes a sensitive issue for waste planners.

Understanding California’s growing cultural diversity and the impact increasingly diverse communities may have on waste stream reduction and diversion programs could be key to the state’s long-term efforts to reduce waste disposal in landfills.

California State University, Sacramento, Professor Dennis H. Tootelian has completed a study of Minority Communities and the Waste Stream–commissioned by the California Integrated Waste Management Board in June 2001, examining the relationship between cultural diversity and the success of local waste diversion programmes. The study draws a number of modest conclusions about diversity and the waste stream, but more importantly, outlines several issues that need further analysis “if diversion rates are to rise, diverse populations are to be served appropriately, and environmental justice is to be achieved,” concludes Tootelian.

The study analysed diversity and waste diversion activities and rates in five geographic regions: the Bay Area (Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Clara counties), San Francisco County, the greater Sacramento Area (El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento counties), Los Angeles County, and Orange County. The report can be downloaded directly from the Waste Board’s web site.

Since 1990, California communities have diverted over 200 million tons of resources away from landfills. The statewide diversion rate in 2001 was 42 percent and the Waste Board so far has determined that 205 of 445 reporting jurisdictions–cities, counties, and regional agencies–have met the state’s 50 percent diversion goal, or made a “good faith effort” to do so.

Summary conclusions

Jurisdictions with large waste streams tend to have higher diversion rates

There are strong indications that jurisdictions with more diverse populations have smaller waste streams than do those with less diverse populations

There are few, if any, differences in the types of waste streams generated by diverse and nonminority populations

Highly diverse populations present significant opportunities for jurisdictions that seek to improve their diversion rates

The factors that directly affect diversion rates are not well established

The number of waste reduction programs does not appear to be directly related to diversion rates

Grant funding does not show clear lines of benefit

Copies of the report The Study of Minority Communities and the Waste Stream (0.3MB) can be collected from CIWMB’s website at:

Ano da Publicação: 2002
Fonte: Warmer Bulletin Enews #43-2002
Autor: Kit Strange, Warmer Bulletin
Email do Autor:

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