Reduce your waste that goes to landfills by participating in recycling and composting programs.
Disposing of unwanted items so they do not end up in a landfill is fundamental to achieving waste reduction.
Pacific Grove’s commercial waste program is designed to make recycling easier, reduce waste, and control litter. It is easier to sort your recyclables by combining all bottles, cans, and paper in the blue containers. The green commercial containers are for all compostable items, such as food scraps and plant waste. Anything that goes in the dark container is sent to landfill, but remember that hardly anything truly belongs in the dark containers. If you do not currently have service or would like to request change in service levels, call the current waste hauler to arrange for service.
Increase your waste diversion
The one area that reduces, if not eliminates, the value of recycling is contamination. There are several steps a business can take to ensure that less waste is generated, contamination is minimized and diversion is maximized. Use these tools to strengthen your waste diversion:
- Collection - Participate in the commingled recycling program to recover almost all types of paper and plastic, glass, and metal containers. To recover all recyclable materials generated by staff, set up recycling bins at central, strategic locations as well as at each desk. If your business shreds paper, ensure that shredded paper is bagged in paper or clear bags if not collected by a document destruction service.
- Training - Conduct regular trainings for your staff on materials that belong in each container. Send electronic reminders to your staff on items that are often placed in the wrong bin.
- Signage - Use signage to educate staff about materials that belong in each bin.
- Disposal Strategies for items that do not belong in any container- Collect batteries, electronics, fluorescent lights, and/or scrap metal for proper disposal with a small, well-marked bin near the waste stations.
In addition to diversion, businesses can also implement waste reduction practices:
- Use only durable dishes, both at your facility and for events. Reduce energy and natural resource consumption, and reduce ongoing financial costs of disposable foodware.
- Set all company computers to print default double-sided. You will save resources and money by reducing the amount of paper used. You can also instruct staff to use size reduction features or print multiple pages per sheet to further reduce paper consumption.
- Install a water filter instead of purchasing bottled water for staff and/or guests.
- Sell or donate surplus or unwanted supplies and furniture.
The purchasing decisions your company makes should be responsible both upstream and downstream. The easiest way to make smart consumer decisions is to source products such as paper and office supplies that are made from recycled materials.
- Purchase paper products made from recycled paper. The City encourages all businesses to purchase paper made with 100% recycled content. Other paper items such as business cards, letterhead, custom printed envelopes, folders and sticky notes should also be purchased with the highest recycled content available.
- Purchase janitorial papers (toilet paper and tissues) with the highest available post-consumer waste (PCW) recycled content.
- Retail stores and restaurants that give bags to their customers should offer reusable bags or paper bags made with a minimum 40% PCW recycled content, but 100% recycled content is recommended. The Pacific Grove ban on plastic checkout bags applies to all retail stores, and requires a 10 cent charge on allowed checkout bags. Shoppers can avoid the charge by bringing their own bag. For more information on this ordinance see: Plastic Bag Ban
- When remodeling or renovating your office interior, source products made from recycled content or reclaimed materials.
Put your waste reduction efforts to good use with the Monterey County Green Business Program; an opportunity to implement green practices, receive onsite technical assistance, join the green business community and receive recognition from your local municipality. By creating an advanced waste reduction and recycling program you are on your way to being certified “green”. Businesses must be in compliance with all regulations and meet program standards for conserving resources, preventing pollution, and minimizing waste.
CalRecycle staff offer assistance to help reuse/recycling-based businesses start and prosper in California. Additionally, CalRecycle offers current information and resources to help grow and green individual businesses while maintaining or exceeding environmental compliance.
CalRecycle works within state and local government and the business community to recognize and promote recycling as an economic development tool as well as an environmental tool. CalRecycle staff offer assistance to help reuse/recycling-based businesses start and prosper in California.
The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery, known as CalRecycle, is a department within the California Environmental Protection Agency.
CalRecycle administers and provides oversight for all of California’s state-managed waste handling and recycling programs. Known mostly for overseeing beverage container and electronic-waste recycling, CalRecycle is also responsible for organics management, used tires, used motor oil, carpet, paint, mattresses, rigid plastic containers, plastic film wrap, newsprint, construction and demolition debris, medical sharps waste, household hazardous waste, and food-scrap composting.
California Assembly Bill 341 - Mandatory Commercial Recycling
California Assembly Bill (AB) 341 requires all businesses that generate four or more cubic yards of garbage per week and multi-family dwellings with five or more units to recycle. Businesses include, but are not limited to, office buildings, retail, restaurants, nonprofits, and strip malls. Multi-family dwellings include apartment buildings and attached single-family dwellings such as townhouses and condominiums, and mobilehome parks, in which the units do not receive separate or individual solid waste collection service.
Subscribing to recyclable materials collection services through the City’s contracted waste hauler will help ensure compliance with AB341 and can even help reduce collection costs.
For more information see:
California Assembly Bill 1826 - Mandatory Organics Recycling
California Assembly Bill 1826 (AB1826) was signed into law in 2014, mandating organics recycling for businesses in California. By 2020, all businesses in California producing 2 cubic yards or more of garbage per week are required to subscribe to organic material collection services.
For more information see:
Organics to Energy
The Monterey Regional Waste Management District’s Organics to Energy program diverts food and other compostable organic “waste” from landfill disposal. The MRWMD program has the added benefit of turning organics into two resources: energy and compost.
Food scraps and certified compostable food ware are picked up by local haulers, inspected for contamination at MRWMD, mixed with mulch and loaded into an anaerobic digestion unit. Inside, biogas (methane) is released and used as fuel to produce electricity.
After 21 days, the organic “digestate” is removed and finishes composting for the next 60-90 days in nearby windrows. It is then screened to remove any remaining contaminants and sold to agricultural users such as local vineyards.
Commercial properties in Pacific Grove have the option to divert food scraps and certified compostable food ware to anaerobic digestion and compost through the City’s contract hauler. Please see for organicstoenergy.org more details and a case study on organics recycling at Asilomar Conference Grounds.
The California Green Building Code, or CALGreen, requires all permitted residential and non-residential construction, demolition and additions/alterations projects to recycle or salvage a minimum 50% of nonhazardous construction materials from the project.
For information on C&D recycling at the Monterey Regional Waste Management District (MRWMD) facilities in Marina, please see Construction and Demolition.
To save in disposal costs, materials such and concrete/asphalt, metals, lumber, and soil can be separated at the jobsite and recycled at either the Monterey Regional Waste Management District’s Materials Recovery Facility, or at another C&D recycler in Monterey such as:
- Eagle Hauling
- Randazzo Enterprises
- Don Chapin Co.