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Santa Clarita / Antelope Valley : City Seeks to Join Program to Reward Commercial Recycling

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Officials here hope to join 29 other cities in a statewide program that offers low-interest loans and quicker permit approval to local businesses for using recycled materials in their manufacturing.

The 3-year-old program administered by the California Integrated Waste Management Board tries to create new markets for recycled goods while expanding manufacturing operations in the state.

“Californians need to get in the habit of buying products manufactured with recycled materials,” said board Chairman Jesse Huff.

The program began in 1992. It is the first and possibly the only one of its kind in the country, said Liza Smith, a spokeswoman for the board.

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The 29 California cities have received a Recycling Market Development Zone designation. Companies in those designated geographic areas may seek technical, marketing or financial assistance from the state board, Smith said.

“Businesses that locate in these zones may be eligible for low-interest loans from the board of up to $1 million,” said Huff, adding that about $7.7 million in loans have been approved since the first loan was issued more than a year ago.

About $6 million in loans has been available in 1994 to qualifying firms.

Santa Clarita officials hope to receive state board approval in the next six months. Once approved, a recycling incentive zone stays in effect for 10 years.

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In addition to Santa Clarita businesses receiving loans through the board, the program will help the city meet the requirements of Assembly Bill 939, which requires cities and counties statewide to reduce trash 25% by 1995 and 50% by the year 2000.

“We think it’s healthy for 939 and healthy for the environment here,” said Jeff Kolin, Santa Clarita’s director of public works.

Some cities with designated recycling zones have attracted manufacturing businesses by touting the program’s incentives, Kolin said. Santa Clarita has an economic development program to lure desirable businesses but has not yet identified companies that could benefit from the program.

As part of the approval process, the state board considers what potentially recyclable materials are being regularly thrown away.

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Yard waste, which can be used for composting in parks or for agricultural businesses, and metals or plastics, which can be used for furniture, are now discarded regularly in Santa Clarita, Kolin said.


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