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Fox & Hounds Features Opinion Piece by Robert Bikel on California's Recycling Crisis

Robert Bikel, professor of strategy and director of the Socially, Environmental & Ethically Responsible (SEER) Program at Pepperdine Graziadio, recently wrote an opinion piece on the state-wide and nation-wide recycling crisis. The 2019 legislative session received a handful of proposed bills, which would have established aggressive benchmarks for plastic manufacturers to dramatically reduce the number of single-use containers on store shelves and landfills. Of the several proposed bills, the legislature did pass two important bills - Assembly Bill 54 (Ting), which allocates grants for a mobile recycling pilot and Assembly Bill 792 (Ting), which boosts recycling markets and requires beverage containers to be made with 50% recycled content by 2030. 

California’s geography uniquely positions the state as a gatekeeper for much of the U.S.’s recycling, which is sent to China and Indonesia through the Port of Los Angeles. Thanks to foreign countries’ decisions to refuse the vast majority of U.S. recyclable goods, our “recycling system” has broken down. Robert quotes William McDonnough to explain the U.S. recycling system, “throwing (or sending) trash away is a fallacy: there is no ‘away.’” Robert discusses the challenges and need for consumers, businesses, and government to work together to create a sustainable solution. Read more

Pepperdine Graziadio will host the SEER Symposium on February 29, 2020, a unique experience to hear inspiring ideas with disruptive solutions from guest speakers and an opportunity to connect with top industry leaders in sustainability. Hear from Seth Goldman, co-founder of Honest Tea; Harrison Clay, president of Clean Energy Renewables; Kathleen Talbot, senior sustainability & business operations manager of Reformation; and many more sustainability trailblazers.

Learn more: bschool.pepperdine.edu/events/seer-symposium