Note: The following is a press release issued by the Arcata Community Recycling Center. It has been edited only for punctuation. – Ed.
ACRC Press Release
HUMBOLDT – The Arcata Community Recycling Center’s (ACRC) Board of Directors has voted to cease all operations by Jan. 14, 2012.
Facility closures include Arcata Community Recycling Center’s Reusables Depot located at 1380 Ninth St. in Arcata; the Center for Hard to Recycle Materials (CHaRM) located at 1445 10th St. in Arcata; and the organization’s Processing Facility located at 555 Vance Ave. in Samoa.
Additionally, ACRC’s Commercial collection program servicing 200 area businesses and ACRC’s Education Program that presented educational programs to over 4,000 students and residents annually will come to an end. All 35 employees of the organization will be laid off.
The ACRC Board thanks the residents of Humboldt County for their 40 years of support. The organization was an outgrowth of the first Earth Day in 1970 and formed in 1971 to promote economically beneficial alternatives to disposal of materials that could be recycled.
In the four decades that have followed, ACRC has been an international model for community-driven waste diversion efforts. Legislative support for these efforts was not apparent until 1989 when the State of California mandated that municipalities divert at least 50 percent of waste generated from landfills. Recently that mandate was increased to 75 percent.
“ACRC developed programs and constructed facilities that enabled Humboldt County municipalities to meet state mandated diversion goals” according to Milt Boyd, chairman of ACRC’s Board of Directors. Boyd concluded “Development of ACRC facilities allowed Arcata and Eureka to begin curbside programs and enabled the Humboldt Waste Management Authority (HWMA) to bid the activity, ultimately resulting in a decision by local elected officials to ship recyclables out of county for processing.”
The HWMA issued a Request-for-Proposals (RFP) for processing of recyclables handled by ACRC. This occurred following two failed votes to acquire ACRC facilities. ACRC had resisted the attempted acquisition. The diversion of recyclables from ACRC’s processing system by HWMA leaves the organization unable to continue to financially support the organization’s activities.
The ACRC Board of Directors continues to encourage residents to be involved in their municipality’s discussions on the handling of recyclables. Recyclables are the one part of the waste stream that generates revenues and this is money that can support local jobs and help reduce overall garbage service costs.
Exporting the material, as is now being done, results in loss of local jobs and hurts the Humboldt County economy. The HWMA will receive approximately $50,000 per year for the recyclables currently shipped out of Humboldt County.
The county’s economy will lose $1.5 million dollars in annual payrolls and experience an additional $2.5 million loss in economic activity involving many local businesses in exchange.
Mark Loughmiller, executive director of ACRC commented “ACRC should be proud that it formed and grew a regional movement around recycling, an issue that the original founders felt strongly about. ACRC succeeded in accomplishing the organizations mission and changed how solid waste is handled in Humboldt County.”
Loughmiller reflected, “Any not-for-profit organization would be proud to complete its primary mission and go out of business because it had done its job. I can only hope that our local governmental agencies begin to promote recycling activity with similar thought and commitment demonstrated by my Board of Directors and the excellent staff at ACRC.”
All ACRC facilities will operate normally through the end of this year. Arcata drop-off, buy-back, and Thrift Store are open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. ACRC’s Samoa facility will accept materials from curbside programs, Humboldt State University and trade accounts through early January 2012.
For questions about recycling please call (707) 445-4321 or visit arcatarecycling.org.