Love it or hate it, it’s hard to deny that California tends to lead the nation when it comes to progressive waste handling. There are a few exceptions of course, with other states and municipalities taking bolder steps every day (see “Solar Synergy” for Republic Services’ innovative landfill solar project in Georgia). But by and large, we look to the West Coast to see the future of waste.

Now, with the passage of two new laws California is pursuing a 75 percent diversion rate goal. The move was at least partly motivated by Florida’s recent adoption of its own 75 percent recycling goal. The big difference between the two is likely to be the contentious point of waste-to-energy. Florida counts it as recycling, making its goal much more easily obtainable. Though I can’t say for certain, I feel safe in predicting that California will not count waste incinerated for energy as part of its diversion rate.

That makes it a much tougher road to hoe. Still, the state has a roadmap to follow right in its own back yard. San Francisco has long outpaced every other city in the country with a diversion rate already eclipsing 75 percent. A big part of that success has been the city’s primary waste handler, Recology (formerly Norcal Waste Systems). With a range of progressive programs, such as food waste collection and cutting edge single-stream recycling, it’s helped San Francisco work around a serious lack of landfill space, while making it one of the greenest cities in the world. Discover all of the varied components that make Recology unique by reading our profile of the company.

In December, Waste Age and waste360.com will be resurrecting our popular Truck and Container Design Contest. If you’ve got custom decorated vehicles or containters in your fleet that you would like to see highlighted in our pages and online, send high-res photos of them to me at saverett@wasteage.com. We’ll pick our favorites and show them off to the rest of the industry!

Steven Averett, Editor

Please e-mail saverett@wasteage.com to pass along feedback or suggestions.